The NFL announced Wednesday the high school football coaches nominated by the 32 NFL teams for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award, representing the best at the high school level.
These coaches were recognized by their local NFL club for the prestigious award -- named after Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history -- for their character and integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety and on-field success.
"We are honored to celebrate the 32 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominees, as each embodies the integrity, commitment and character of Coach Shula," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "High school football coaches not only serve as leaders, but as role models dedicated to shaping the lives of young high school players on and off-the-field."
All Don Shula Award nominees are invited to attend the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando, FL and will be recognized in special ways during the NFL's week-long celebration of football. Throughout the week, coaches will receive VIP access and accommodations at various events such as Pro Bowl practices, the Play Football High School Skills Showdown and Play Football Celebrity Flag game; a chance to interact and engage with various members of the football community; and attend the Pro Bowl. Each coach will also have an opportunity to invite a senior on their roster to participate in the Skills Showdown to represent their high school football community.
"It was truly the honor of a lifetime to be recognized as one of the elite high school coaches in the nation," said Robert Garrett, 2017 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award winner. "As a coach, you never seek individual recognition or accolades and the priority is always helping young men to achieve their highest potential, but being nominated for the Don Shula Coach of the Year Award is special and this year's nominees should be proud."
Two finalists will each receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to their high school's football program. They will also attend Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta as special guests of the NFL. The Don Shula Award winner will be announced during the 2019 Pro Bowl, airing Sunday, Jan. 27 at 3 PM ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and simulcast on ABC. The winner will also be recognized and walk the red carpet at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Saturday, Feb. 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, at 9 PM (ET and PT) on CBS.
The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year winner is selected by a panel of distinguished individuals:
-Pro Football Hall of Famer, Coach Don Shula -- the winningest coach in NFL history
-2017 Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award Winner Robert Garrett
-Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker
-Former Dallas Cowboys Personnel Director and NFL.com contributor Gil Brandt
-Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy
-Executive Director of USA Football Scott Hallenbeck
-3-time Super Bowl Champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX) Willie McGinest
-2x AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year and current head coach at the Sayre School Chad Pennington
-Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl XXXV Champion Rod Woodson
-Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business
-Aplington-Parkersburg High School Principal Aaron Thomas, son of the school's late football coach, Ed Thomas
Below is a full list of the 2018 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominees. For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit nflfoundation.org or follow @NFLFoundation on Twitter.
About The NFL Foundation: The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football -- from players at all levels to communities across the country.
The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support our game. For more information on The NFL Foundation, visit: www.NFLFoundation.org.
About Play Football: Play Football is a year-round initiative celebrating youth and high school football. Play Football works to shape the football experience, advocate for safety, promote football values and connect football communities. For more information, featured football stories, best practices and resources aimed to create a positive playing experience, please visit PlayFootball.com or follow @NFLPlayFootball. Join the conversation on social media using #LetsPlayFootball.