Somerset (Wisconsin) High School football coach Bruce Larson was named the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year, it was announced Friday.
As the national Shula award winner, Larson will receive $25,000 from the NFL Foundation, $15,000 of which will go to his high school's football program. He will also be a guest of the NFL during the Super Bowl and be recognized at a media availability with Coach Shula on Jan. 30.
Nominated by the Green Bay Packers, Larson, of Somerset, Wisconsin, was one of three high school football coaches across the country named as a finalist. The award was created to honor exemplary high school football coaches who demonstrate a commitment to player health and safety, and to the integrity, achievement, and leadership exemplified by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula.
The other finalists were Denver Broncos nominee and Cherry Creek High School coach Dave Logan of Greenwood Village, Colorado and Kansas City Chiefs nominee and Truman High School head football coach Gregg Webb from Independence, Missouri. Each finalist receives a $2,500 cash award and a $5,000 grant for their high school football programs. A full list of all nominees is below.
"Coach Larson has had a lasting impact on me as a player and a person," said Witzmann. "The principles he instills in his players such as mental toughness and teamwork have been invaluable for me. Coach Larson's dedication to the team, the school, and the town of Somerset is unparalleled. He tries to shy away from personal accolades as much as he can but it seems to have caught up with him. I couldn't think of a more deserving man for the award."
All nominees are active or retired high school football coaches nominated by NFL teams or players for their character and integrity, inspirational leadership, commitment to the community and on-field success.
"We're pleased, along with the NFL, to honor Bruce Larson for his accomplishments, not only as a football coach but as a role model and leader in the community," said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. "Bruce sets a strong example for young people to follow, both on and off the field. Through his 28 years with Somerset High School, he has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to coaching and his community."
As part of his nomination, Larson wrote of his responsibility as a coach: "The greatest thing that comes from coaching for me is watching the players go from boys who participate in youth football to men who fight together at the varsity level and take the lessons they learned in football throughout their life and become successful individuals."
The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award selection panel is comprised of 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 Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden; General Raymond Odierno; and 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.
-- NFL Communications