MSSD Athletic Director Mark Burke Receives Pollin Coaching Award
Mark Burke is honored with a Pollin Award center court at halftime during the Wizards vs. 76ers basketball game on November 24.
For Mark Burke coaching is his passion. He thinks of his student-athletes as his extended family. As the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) athletic director, Burke has been successfully building teams with well-rounded student-athletes who strive for excellence in both athletics and academics.
In recognition of Burke’s outstanding contributions to the youth sports community, he was honored with the prestigious Pollin Award given jointly by the Washington Wizards and nonprofit organization Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). He received his award center court during halftime at the Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers game on November 24 at the Verizon Center.
The Pollin Award, named for long-time Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin who passed away the same day Burke received his award, was created to honor those individuals who show outstanding dedication to their community. This year the Washington Wizards teamed up with PCA to honor Washington, D.C., metropolitan coaches. PCA’s mission is to “transform youth sports so sports can transform youth.” Since 2001, PCA has operated in the Washington, D.C., area, impacting tens of thousands of local youths.
"It was surreal to receive my award on the floor in front of thousands of fans. That was when I realized its magnitude," said Burke. "Abe Pollin has made a huge impact in the community, and with his passing I want to continue making an impact in the community in the same way he has."
Burke has led the MSSD football team to championships and introduced rugby to MSSD as a new team sport. The Model 7s rugby team recently defeated Hyde Leadership Public Charter School, 22-17, in a spirited, fast-paced match at the 13th Annual Ambassador’s Shield Rugby Match sponsored by the New Zealand Embassy. The team drew kudos on November 15 from an audience composed of local die-hard rugby fans who came to watch local area leagues and schools play at Trinity College on November 15.
As a first-time head football coach at MSSD in the fall of 2008, Burke led his team to the Capital Area Football Conference championship. MSSD students come from across the nation, most with no prior organized sports experience, including 18 out of 26 players on this year's football team. Along with building athletic skills, Burke develops well-rounded student-athletes through positive coaching and emphasis on academics. As athletic director, Burke helps his coaches advance their skills, expands options for students, and involves MSSD student-athletes in community service.
Congratulations to Mark Burke for being recognized for all his hard work with this great honor!