President's Award

This award is given to an individual in recognition of contributions to the field of strength and conditioning and to the NSCA. Recipient is selected by the NSCA President.

Congratulations to our 2021 recipients:

Maria Teresa Mendizabal, NSCA-CPT,*D

Maria Teresa was born in Puerto Rico, and for many years was a professional Ballet and Flamenco Dancer. She has a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico, and years later graduated Magna Cum Laude in Physical Education. She founded during 1970’s her Dancing and Fitness School. Today, many of her students are dancers and ballet teachers in Puerto Rico and the United States. During 1975 she introduced aerobics in Puerto Rico, and founded together with her dearest friend Christine Vega, Aerobic Trainings International, a Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Trainings Organization. Together they have travelled to South and Central America, Europe, United States and the Caribbean certifying more than 2,000 fitness professionals. During those years she was constantly invited to present in several Conventions and Fitness organizations in Europe, South and Central America, as well as in the United States. In 1995, she was a Gold Medalist in South Africa during the World Aerobic Competition. Had her own Fitness TV program for many years, and had her weekly fit-ness column in one of the best known newspaper in Puerto Rico. In 2004 she was elected by the National Strength and Conditioning Association the Personal Trainer of the Year , and a few years later she was appointed State Director for NSCA in Puerto Rico, and selected State Director of the year, years after. She holds several certifications among them NSCA-CPT,*D, ACSM, TRX, ZUMBA, Pilates, Willpower and Grace, and Ballet Barre. Her spicy styles, her unique choreography and her not ending desire to elevate the quality of the fitness profession keep her active in her Personal Training and Group Classes. She has been happily married to Hector Santiago, her beloved husband for 45 years, and together they have six children, and eight grandsons. Three years ago, she finished her book “Sorry, What’s Your Age”, where she reveals details of her life, and her desire to live 125 years, as still she has many projects to complete in her life.

Jerry Palmieri, MA, CSCS, RSCC*E

New Jersey native and longtime Tom Coughlin assistant Jerry Palmieri served 12 seasons as the Giants’ strength and conditioning coach, a position he assumed on Jan. 13, 2004. He was with the Giants for Tom Coughlin’s entire tenure as head coach. Palmieri was the New Orleans Saints’ assistant strength and conditioning coach in 2003. Prior to that he spent nine years as a strength and conditioning coach under Coughlin, one at Boston College (where he was the director of strength and conditioning operations) and eight with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Palmieri began his career as a strength coach at the University of North Carolina in 1982. From there he moved to Oklahoma State University (1984-86) and Kansas State University (1987-92) before joining Coughlin at Boston College. In addition to his coaching experience, Palmieri has taught physical education classes and written articles about strength and conditioning for national publications. Palmieri is a 1980 graduate of Montclair State University. He received a master’s degree in exercise physiology from North Carolina in 1984. Palmieri was a three-time New Jersey Golden Gloves champion (1976-78) and competed in international competitions as a member of the 1978 and 1979 USA Boxing Teams. He was honored as the 2007 Samson’s NFL Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year. In 1999, Palmieri was honored by the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society as Coach of the Year, and then in 2018, this organization presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a member of NY Giants’ staffs that won two Super Bowl Championships (2007 and 2011). Currently, Palmieri volunteers for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes advancing that ministry in North Jersey. He works closely with the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association to unify and provide professional education for the NFL Strength and Conditioning Coaches. He works closely with the Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association to unify and provide professional education for the NFL Strength and Conditioning Coaches. He also speaks on topics of strength & conditioning and his faith, while also conducting workshops on Three Dimensional Coaching. Palmieri was raised in Dumont, N.J. He and his wife, Ellen, also a New Jersey native, have two children and one grandson.

Past Award Recipients Includes:

2019 - Ray Ganong 2000 - NSCA National Office Staff, Don Chu, Patrick Hagerman, Mike Nitka, and Gary Shankman
2018 - Dr. William J. Kraemer and Dr. Michael H. Stone 1999 - NSCA Certification Commission, Doug Kleiner, Michael Stone, and John Taylor
2017 - Virginia Meier and Dr. T. Jeff Chander 1998 - Al Biancani, Doug Lentz, Rob Panariello, and Peter Twist
2016 - Keith Cinea and Robert Jursnick 1997 - Sueo Oyama, Bruno Pauletto, and David Pearson
2013 - Dr. Michael Ma 1996 - NSCA National Office Staff
2012 - Douglas J. Casa 1995 - Chris Fett, Everett Harman, and Dan Wathen
2011 - Danny J. McMillian 1994 - Steven S. Plisk and David Pearson
2010 - David Sandler 1993 - Lawrence E. Armstrong, Bill Montgomery, and Don Chu
2009 - Joel Cramer 1992 - Michael Stone and Jeff Chandler
2008 - Terry J. Housh 1991 - Robert Cincotta, Karen Manzella, Todd Hendrickson, Karl Friedl, John Garhammer, Mike Stone, Joan Kraemer, Gary Goranson, Elise Reising, and Donna Welsh
2007 - Joseph P. Weir and Larry Meadors 1990 - Doug Semenick, Mike Clark, Carl Maresh, David Pearson, Tim McClellan, Doug Catlin, Steve Fleck, Karl Friedl, Michael Carter, John Garhammer, Bill Kroll, Gary Shankman, and Patrick O’Shea
2006 - Doug Lentz 1989 - Doug Semenick, Susan Cloidt, Gary Goranson, and Larry Armstrong
2005 - Kevin Cleary and Mark Roozen 1988 - Meg Ritchie, Denise Gater, Lori Gilstrap, Jan Todd, Lynn Stoessel, Jean Holloway, Sue Hillman, and David Gater
2004 - Jamie L. Aslin, John Taylor, and Kim M. Dixon 1987 - William Kraemer, John Garhammer, Jerry Simmons, Bill Foran, Bruno Pauletto, and Doug Semenick
2003 - Helen Binkley 1986 - Thomas Baechle, Dan Wathen, Bill Allerheiligen, Gary Dudley, John Garhammer, William Kraemer, Steve Fleck, Duane Buturusis, Michael Stone, James Wright, and Benjamin Harrison
2001 - Patrick Mediate  
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