Paragon Awards                           Presented By

The Annual Paragon Awards, sponsored by Pentair Aquatic Systems,  are presented for outstanding contributions to: Competitive Swimming, Water Polo, Competitive Diving, Aquatic Safety, Synchronized Swimming and Recreational Swimming.

Mark Onstott (USA)

Head Coach, New Trier Township High School

2013 Paragon Award / Competitive Swimming

Since 1975, Mark Onstott has been coaching boys and girls high school swimming, now in his 38th year. He has coached swimming in Iowa, Texas, and Illinois.


He coached at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa starting as the assistant coach for three years and moving to the head coach position for four years. He earned the Conference Coach of the Year title three times. As a member of the Iowa High School Swimming Coaches Association, he served as Secretary-Treasurer and was the Clinic Director of the 1981 Conference. He was State Coach of the Year in 1981 for both boys and girls.

In 1982, he moved to Texas earning State Coach of the Year honors in 1989 and Region Coach of the Year honors six times at Cy-Fair High School where he served as a member of the Texas Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association from 1985 to 1994, serving as its president and other offices.


In 1994, Onstott moved to Illinois where his high school boys coaching career continued to excel, winning eleven state high school swimming championships including every year from 2004 to 2013. From 1994 to 2001, he was the girls head swimming coach winning two girls Illinois State Championships. Since 2006, he has served as assistant girls coach. He was selected District or Sectional Coach of the Year 16 times. His New Trier High School teams have won over 900 dual meets and he has developed over 182 High School All American Swimmers.


Mark has left an indelible impression as a 38 year member of NISCA, the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association. He served as President from 2005 to 2007, fulfilling the role as President-Elect and Past President the two years preceding and past. He was a Zone Director for six years from 1997 to 2003 and has been a member of the Audit Committee from 2007 to the present. He continues to serve on the Professional Awards and Marketing Committees and has been the All-America Coordinator since 2007.


Mark has been a NISCA Clinic Speaker on three occasions, a National High School Athletic Coaches Convention speaker and has made presentations in New Jersey, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and at the ASCA World Clinic three times. He has published articles for the “Athletic Journal”, “NISCA Journal” and developed a set of four DVD’s on Championship Sports for the High School Coaching Academy.


Among his honors, Mark was elected National Coach of the Year for the National High School Coaches Association (2005), the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (2005) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (2010). In 2009, he was inducted into the University of Northern Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame as an Athlete/Coach.

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