Coach Ray Seals of Madison High School in Houston, Texas
named as inaugural Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year
Head Football Coach & Athletic Coordinator Ray Seals of Madison High School in Houston was named the inaugural Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year, it was announced Friday. As the national Shula Award winner, Seals will receive $25,000, $15,000 of which will go to his high school's football program. He also is a guest of the NFL during Super Bowl Week.
Nominated by the Houston Texans, Seals was one of 28 football coaches from across the country named as candidates for the new award, which was created to honor exemplary football coaches at all levels of the sport.
In their nomination, the Texans praised Seals for his "leadership, character, and ability to mentor his players on the field and in life." His commitment to his players extends beyond the football field, as he makes a point of visiting their homes and even ensuring their families have food on the table. As the Texans wrote, "Simply put, he cares."
Coach Seals also was recognized by the NFL as the 2008 High School Football Coach of the Year. He was nominated by two of his former players, Moran Norris and Vince Young.
"I am overwhelmed at being named the first winner of the Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award," said Seals. "Coach Shula has always been a role model to me, and I have worked throughout my career to emulate his coaching style by teaching the values of integrity and character."
Coaches were nominated by NFL teams and by USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels. Nominees are active football coaches at NFL, college, high school and youth levels. They were chosen for their character and integrity, inspirational leadership, commitment to the community, and on-field success.
"I am honored that the NFL has put this award in my name. I think it is great that we are recognizing coaches from all levels -- high school, collegiate and professional," said Shula.
The Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award selection panel is comprised of Coach Shula; NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; former Indianapolis Colts Coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy; Former Raiders Coach and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame John Madden; General Raymond Odierno, Commander, United States Joint Forces Command; Sam Palmisano, Chairman, CEO and President of IBM; Former Secretary of State, Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Condoleezza Rice; and Aaron Thomas, Athletic Director at Aplington-Parkersburg High School and son of the school's late football coach Ed Thomas.