The following is from the Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears announced today that head coach Derek Hart of Kankakee High School in Kankakee has been named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 9 and quarterback Aidan Gray of Naperville North High School in Naperville was named the Chicago Bears “High School All-Star.” The “Coach of the Week” and “High School All-Stars” programs are brought to you by Athletico Physical Therapy. The Bears will make a $2,000 donation to the Kankakee football program and direct a $500 donation to the youth football program of Gray’s choice.
Derek Hart – Kankakee High School Head Coach
On Oct. 22, Hart and the Kankakee Kays varsity football team (9-0) won their home conference game against the Crete-Monee Warriors (6-3) of Crete by a score of 28-20, keeping the Kays undefeated in the regular season. The win gave the Kays the school’s first conference title since 1999 in the now-defunct SICA Orange conference and the program’s first win over Crete-Monee since 2004. The Kays are now the top-seeded team in the upcoming Class 5A state playoffs. Hart took over Kankakee’s football program in January of 2019 to help the Kays become a prestigious team and help his players get into NCAA Division I level schools. The Kankakee Kays will play at Carbondale (5-4) on Saturday.
Aidan Gray – Naperville North High School
On Oct. 22, the junior quarterback led the Naperville North Huskies (6-3) to a 34-32 away conference game victory against the Neuqua Valley Wildcats (8-1) of Naperville to win the first-ever DuPage Valley conference championship game. During the last quarter, the Huskies trailed 28-32 until Gray rushed for the game-winning 18-yard touchdown on the final play of the game for a dramatic win. Gray completed 16 of 29 passes for 296 yards, 56 rush yards and four touchdowns. Naperville North is currently seeded 16 for the IHSA Class 8A playoff. Naperville North will host Naperville Central (6-3) in the first round of the playoffs on Friday.
About “Coach of the Week” & “High School All-Star”
The Chicago Bears “Coach of the Week” program was launched in 1996 and “High School All-Star” program in 2011. The “Coach of the Week” program honors outstanding Illinois high school coaches who develop players’ football skills and knowledge, character, leadership, discipline and teamwork abilities. The nomination criteria for the “High School All-Star” program includes on-field performance, community involvement and good sportsmanship. Deserving high school coaches and players are nominated by a panel of local prep authorities and the winning player is selected each week from August 27-October 23. Since the program’s inception, the Bears have donated more than $326,500 to Illinois high schools in support of their football programs. For more information, please visit chicagobears.com/community.
2021 Chicago Bears Coach of the Week Winners
2021 Chicago Bears High School All-Star
Week 8 – Aiden Cyr, Hoffman Estates HS
Week 7 – Jordan Anderson, Joliet Catholic HS
Week 6 – Zach Hinds, Riverton Academy HS
Week 5 – Chase Hanson, Mascoutah HS
Week 4 – Marco Maldonado, Loyola Academy
Week 3 – Hector Ramirez, Chicago Academy HS
Week 2 – Kaiden Miller, Grayslake Central HS
Week 1 – Hank Beatty, Rochester HS