|Don Shula (left) and NFL Senior Vice President of Player Engagement Troy Vincent (right) introduce Steve Specht and Greg Scruggs during a presentation of the 2012 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year at Super Bowl XLVII.|
The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award is a league award that has been created to honor exemplary high school football coaches who display the integrity, achievement, and leadership demonstrated by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula.
NFL teams and players were called upon to nominate active or retired high school football coaches for their character and integrity, inspirational leadership, commitment to the community, health and safety, 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 high school coaches," said Shula. "Congratulations to all of the nominees, and I look forward to presenting the award at this year's Super Bowl in New Orleans."
This year's Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year was Coach Steve Specht of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, OH. Nominated by Greg Scruggs of the Seattle Seahawks, Specht, along with Woodland Hills High School (Pittsburgh, PA) Head Football Coach George Novak and James Logan High School (Union City, CA) Head Football Coach George Zuber, was one of three high school football coaches from across the country named as a finalist for the award.
As part of his nomination, Specht wrote of his responsibility as a coach. "I think any great organization is composed of people that love one another, focus on the daily pursuit of excellence and understand that no one is able to succeed alone," he said. "I firmly believe that our responsibility as coaches and teachers is to equip these young men with tools that will motivate them for life, not just for a game." Specht has coached five players who have gone on to play in the NFL and is currently training to become a Master Trainer for the USA Football Heads Up Tackling program.
The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award selection panel is comprised of Coach Shula; former Dallas Cowboys Personnel Director and NFL.com contributor Gil Brandt; former Indianapolis Colts Coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy; veteran sportswriter Jack Fleischer; Executive Director of USA Football Scott Hallenbeck; Former Raiders Coach and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame John Madden; General Raymond Odierno, Army Chief of Staff; Former Secretary of State, Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Condoleeza Rice; Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association Grant Teaff; and Aaron Thomas, Athletic Director at Aplington-Parkersburg High School and son of the school's late football coach Ed Thomas.
As the national Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year, Specht received $25,000; $15,000 of which will be granted to the St. Xavier High School football program.