Elite eight coach: Flagler Palm Coast's Halliday finalist for Coach of the Year honor

For the second time, David Halliday has been chosen as one of eight finalists for the National Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year award.

FPC track and field alumni with Coach David Halliday at the East Coast Classic on Feb. 23, which celebrated Halliday's 20 years as the program's head coach. Courtesy photo
FPC track and field alumni with Coach David Halliday at the East Coast Classic on Feb. 23, which celebrated Halliday's 20 years as the program's head coach. Courtesy photo
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Win or lose, Flagler Palm Coast’s David Halliday is honored to be a finalist for the second time for the National Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year award.

The winner will be announced at the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year banquet on June 26 in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Halliday is one of eight finalists for the award. He was nominated by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association to represent the state. He was also nominated by the FACA in 2018 and was a finalist that year too.

“It’s always nice to be recognized,” said Halliday, who has been a track and field and cross country coach for 30 years, including the past 20 at FPC. “If you get nominated representing the entire state of Florida that’s a nice thing, and be picked as the final eight, that’s pretty good. It’s a tribute to the kids and coaches who work with me. Obviously, I’m not a one-man show. You've got to have great kids and great assistant coaches. It’s nice to be recognized, but it takes a lot people behind the scenes.”

The award is based on career achievement, and Halliday has accomplished a great deal during his career. His boys track and field teams have won three state championships. He led FPC to state titles in 2007 and 2009 and also coached Lake City Columbia to a state championship in 2002. Since he was last nominated for the award, he has led the Bulldogs to a state runner-up finish in 2019 and a fourth-place finish in 2023.

Halliday was inducted into the FACA Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Florida Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2017.

He considers one of the other finalists, Scott Christensen of Stillwater High in Minnesota, as a mentor. 

“When I got my USA Track and Field Level 2 Coaching Certification in 1998, he was one of the instructors,” Halliday said. “He invited me in 2014 to speak to the Minnesota coaches association, and he spoke in Florida in 2016 and 2020.”

Halliday will be one of the speakers at the week-long coaches convention in Bismarck

“If you’re one of Coach of the Year finalists you can speak,” he said. “That’s always fun, sharing with other coaches.”

Halliday is a graduate of Seabreeze High School and the University of Florida, and before moving to Flagler County, he earned his master’s degree in sports management at Florida State while his wife, Kim Halliday — who is Flagler Schools’ director of Exceptional Student Education — was earning her PhD.

“He’s one of the best coaches I’ve seen in the state of Florida in any sport,” FPC Principal Bobby Bossardet said, noting that Halliday’s athletes are as accomplished in the classroom as they are on the track.

“At the track and field banquet there were a number of kids with GPAs above 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0,” Bossardet said. “That’s exactly what you want in a head coach. He cares about his kids and holds them to a high standard academically.”

FPC boys track and field coach David Halliday poses with a golden hurdle presented to him by his coaching staff and administrators at the East Coast Classic track and field meet on Feb. 23. Courtesy photo

It also goes along with Halliday's job for the last eight years as FPC’s graduation coach, where he helps FPC students who are at risk of not graduating get over the hump.

“He’s a perfect fit, “Bossardet said. “Coach Halliday has reputation of getting kids to believe tin themselves. He’s had a huge impact on our graduation rate. He’s getting some of our kids possibly not graduating to rise to their potential.”

Halliday maintains relationships with his former athletes. Many have invited him to be a part of their wedding parties. Several have become coaches themselves and are now on his staff coaching with him.

“It’s pretty cool to have them want to come back to their alma mater and give back,” Halliday said. “It’s rewarding that they enjoyed what they did here and turned that into enjoying the teaching and coaching profession.”

One of his former athletes, Alex Giorgianni, who is now an FPC teacher and the track team’s jumps coach, helped plan a special gift for Halliday at the season-opening East Coast Classic on Feb. 23. Track staff, alumni and administrators presented him with a golden hurdle inscribed in five places with, “The Halliday Way — Since 2004.”

“Cross country and track and field are tough sports,” Bossardet said. “He’s got a way of getting the kids to believe in his way of doing things. They know he cares about them. He has an annual dinner at his house before the state meet. Every summer (the cross country team) goes out of state (to North Carolina) to train. The fellowship time they have together and the bonding that goes with that takes them to the next level. He wants to make that high school experience more than just about athletics.”


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