By Staff Writer, Kristen Zee
Whether it’s coaching, teaching or acting as a role model at Galileo, coach and teacher Mark Huynh’s commitment to Galileo shows through in the extra time he spends for students. Starting with his own time as a high school student at Galileo in 1986 (class of 1990), then continuing as a coach of multiple sports for 22 years and counting, Coach Mark committed himself to helping the students at Galileo reach their full potential.
Coach Mark’s passion for helping students at Galileo started when he was a freshman back in ’86, lost and confused on the concept of high school, and wondering why there was school spirit coming from the older kids. When he became an upperclassman, coach Mark participated in school pep rallies and club-oriented activities which helped him understand why the students at Galileo have school spirit.
Not only did Coach Mark find value in getting involved in rallies, having had good and bad coaches while he played at Galileo, he also realized how a good coach can help develop students. As a student athlete, he participated in basketball, football, and tennis, and so he understood the need for a good coach and how he/she is the backbone of a good team. These ideas eventually led him to return to Galileo as a coach. He said, “Players need someone who can support and coach them at the same time, and nobody was there to fill that spot so I decided to get involved,” adding, “I believe a coach that works hard to become a better coach can always coach any sport.”
Twenty two years later, coach Mark continues to invest his time and effort for student-athletes at Galileo. The list of sports he has coached during that time include; F/S girls and F/S boys basketball, F/S boys football, boys varsity football, girls varsity softball, girls varsity tennis, varsity girls and currently in 2019-2020, boys varsity basketball and boys volleyball.
Coach Mark dedicates at least 2 to 3 hours daily for coaching, as well as time spent preparing for practice. In addition, he’s also tried to help Galileo take more pride in the school-he developed the football hall in 2009, a place where trophies, historical photos and awards are hung to create a good space for the players and alumni to remember the good times they’ve had and to show the newcomers what the Galileo tradition is.
Originally Coach Mark believed that he could make an impact with the students just through coaching, but when his old art teacher at Galileo was set to retire, he asked coach Mark if he’d consider teaching art. Coach Mark agreed and went back to SF State to receive his teaching credential and later got hired as an art and yearbook teacher at Galileo. He decided to take the job not only because it fit what he had majored in (art) but because he was already coaching at Galileo. He also accepted the position because it would help him make more of a positive impact and allow him to make a supportive environment for students and athletes to feel welcomed and accepted.
Coach Mark has spent the last 20-plus years at Galileo because he feels a great deal of pride in the school that he attended and wants to give back to the students as best as he can, wanting them to have the best high school experience. He says, “High school may just be a small section of your whole life but it makes a huge impact on the person.”