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TeamBuildr’s Strong Leader of the Year Awards (Illinois High School Powerlifting Association)

Jun 15, 2023

TeamBuildr’s Strong Leader of the Year Awards (Illinois High School Powerlifting Association)

(Palos Hills, IL)

On May 6, hundreds of athletes, educators, parents, and fans rallied in Palos Hills for the 8th annual State Championship for the Illinois High School Powerlifting Association (IHSPLA). 260 athletes and 24 schools attended the invite-only event, making it one of the largest in the nation. Good times were had, lessons were learned, and records were broken. 

TeamBuildr has partnered with the IHSPLA to recognize Strong Leaders in the sport, which is one of the fastest growing high school sports in Illinois. Two awards were given at the event: Strong Leader of the Year (Coach of the Year) and Meet Director of the Year.

Jim + Brian


2023 Strong Leader of the Year: Jim Davis

In recent years, Davis has led teams to 3 IHSPLA State Championships, 2 Runner-Up finishes, 4 USA Weightlifting High School Throwdown Titles, and 3 NASA National Championships. He has been recognized multiple times for his leadership, most recently with the U.S. Marine Corps’ “Excellence in Leadership” award, NASA Powerlifting’s National Coach of the Year, and as S&C Education’s Community Influence Coach of the Year. Davis credits an amazing coaching staff as well as a focus on “character education through sport” as the primary driver behind his team’s success. In addition to his role at New Trier High School, he is the Director of the nonprofit organization The Good Athlete Project, which focuses on maximizing the potential of athletics as education. His #BeyondStrength initiative is specifically focused on teaching leadership, character and lifelong health through strength training.

2023 Meet Director of the Year: Brian Buglio

Buglio received the recognition on his home turf. It was the first time the event was hosted at Stagg High School and based on the success and expert coordination, will not be the last! The 2023 Meet Director of the Year has 22 years of experience as a coach. He was an integral part in developing a Powerlifting team which became an official club in 2011 and has been running strong since. He has been involved with the IHSPLA since its inception and has held various roles in the association since that time. He is currently the IHSPLA Meet Director for the IHSPLA Charger Regional, and the 2023 State Meet. In addition to hosting some of the State’s largest meets, he has coached 3 State Championship teams in the Girls Division, and his Boys Teams have been Runner-Up twice (2015 and 2018). This is not his first time winning the award – he won it twice alongside Dan Carrier, once on his own, and now again in 2023. Buglio has a huge heart and a true passion for the sport.

The roster of IHSPLA coaches is growing. While these two were recognized this year, each of them notes that there are many deserving strength and powerlifting coaches in Illinois. Each one of those coaches deserved consideration for these awards (and many were nominated by their athletes and peers). That list keeps growing. The future is bright.

The IHSPLA will resume activity in February of 2024. More at

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