Two NCHSAA Coaches Win NFHS National Coach of the Year Awards!

Girls Spirit
Jennifer Marks
Raleigh, North Carolina.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 17, 2024) — Jennifer Marks has been the head cheer coach at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, for 27 years and has led her teams to 23 state titles and four Carolina Cup championships. Cardinal Gibbons was 2022 North Carolina High School Athletic Association Super Large Varsity state champions, and 2023 North Carolina Cheerleading Coaches Association state champions. She also has claimed three CheerSport national titles and has three top five finishes at the UCA nationals. Marks was named Coach of the Year by the North Carolina Cheer Association in 2008 and 2022. Marks’ teams have been involved in numerous community projects over the years, including the Oxford Children’s Home of North Carolina and Feed the Need program. Marks’ coaching philosophy is centered around love, respect and discipline, and she reminds her athletes that “the point of a coach is to get an athlete to do something they never imagined they could do and/or something they could never do on their own.” 

Patricia Alexander
Raleigh, North Carolina

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 17, 2024) — If not for the COVID-shortened seasons in 2020 and 2021, Patricia Alexander and the Cardinal Gibbons High School girls lacrosse program might be riding an eight-year state championship streak. Alexander led the Raleigh, North Carolina, school to four straight North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) state titles from 2016 to 2019 and was 3-0 before the 2020 season was halted due to the pandemic. After going 13-1 in a short winter season in 2021, Alexander has led the team to back-to-back NCHSAA championships in 2022 and 2023. In just 13 seasons as head coach, Alexander has a win-loss record of 197-39. She was honored with the NCHSAA Doris Howard Female Coach of the Year in 2019 and is an eight-time Conference Coach of the Year. She is also active in the local community leading the Cardinal Gibbons Youth Lacrosse Camp and the North Carolina Lacrosse Academy’s recreation program.

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NCHSAA Media Contact: Brandon Moree,
NFHS Media Contact: Bruce Howard,