Palm Beach Central’s Lisa & Tony Gullo Enjoy Coaching Young Athletes Story by Y.A. Teitelbaum • Photo by Cassie Yarbrough
Sports play an integral role in Lisa and Tony Gullo’s lives. The couple, married for almost 20 years, coach at Palm Beach Central High School. Lisa Gullo was a three-sport athlete in high school who played college softball and now coaches the Broncos’ cross-country team. “I always loved playing sports and was voted ‘most athletic’ by my senior class,” said Lisa, who graduated from North Shore High School in 1987. “One of the reasons I changed my major in college from accounting to education was because I wanted to be a coach.” Lisa credits her interest in running to Dennis Cox, who was her cross-country and softball coach at North Shore and now teaches at Wellington High School. “I have always enjoyed running and wanted to share my love for running with others. I love coaching high school cross country,” added Lisa, who teaches digital information technology at PBCHS. Tony Gullo was a high school baseball star who played in college. He is embarking on his first season as the Broncos’ manager, taking over for the legendary Scott Benedict, his friend and mentor. Tony is just the second head baseball coach in the school’s history. Previously, he was the head baseball coach at William T. Dwyer High School for nine years before moving to Palm Beach Central, where he has been teaching mathematics classes since the school’s inception in 2003. Gullo was Benedict’s assistant head coach and
infield coach for the first four years at Palm Beach Central. During that time, the Broncos were the first public school in Florida to make an appearance in the state final four in its first season. They followed that up by winning the district title the next three years. And in 2006, Palm Beach Central was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally. Tony also attended North Shore High School, graduating in 1985, two years before Lisa. “He was friends with my older brother, but we didn’t really know each other,” Lisa said. Not surprisingly, they met through sports. “I was coaching softball at Santaluces, while he was coaching at Dwyer,” Lisa recalled. “We were playing at Dwyer, and we saw each other there.” They started dating about a year later. After attending the 1997 Florida State vs. North Carolina football game in Chapel Hill, Tony proposed, and they were married on July 4, 1998. They each took a hiatus from coaching at PBCHS; Tony after the 2007 season, and Lisa after the 2013 season. “We had young kids of our own playing baseball, and I was missing the opportunity to coach them,” Tony explained. “Our families and friends were telling us to enjoy our children while they were young. Time would fly by, and then it would be too late. We de-
cided to heed their advice. I decided to coach their teams, and Lisa helped with coaching, being the team mom, organizing snack schedules, practice times, etc. I never thought I would coach high school baseball again.” But now he’s back and looking forward to the challenge of keeping the program at an elite level. Pre-season began in mid-February and the regular season ends on April 25, followed by the playoffs. “Our goals this season are to become better baseball players, better students and better people,” Tony said. “I would like for our players to experience a postseason. In high school sports, you have to earn your way deep into the postseason. You don’t just pay and enter a tournament like many travel teams do. You have to win to move on. I hope our hard work and preparation affords us this honor.” The cross-country season is in the fall, with practice beginning in late July and the regular season ending in early October, followed by district and regional meets to qualify for the state championship in early November. “Athletics has always been a passion of mine, and I have transitioned that love of sports into coaching,” said Lisa, who started as an assistant coach for the cross-country teams. She was elevated to the head coaching position in 2011. “Two years later [in 2013], my younger son asked me, ‘Why do you have to coach? You are never home.’ It broke my heart, and though it was a tough
“It is very challenging to try to be the best coach and teacher we can be, while trying to be an active parent to our two teenage sons and a good spouse,” Lisa Gullo said. 74
april 2017 | wellington the magazine
Published on Mar 30, 2017
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