For the second year in a row, a Georgia coach has won the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award. Derrick Avery of Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta is the winner of the 2020-21 award that is named in honor of the National Football League’s all-time winningest head coach.
The honor is given to the high school football coach that best represents character, integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to player protection and on-field success.
Last fall, Avery led the Booker T. Washington High School Bulldogs to a 7-3 record and a return to the postseason – a four-win improvement over the season prior.
Off the field, Avery was the first local high school coach to partner with the Falcons’ player-led social justice committee in the Rise Up & Vote campaign, which focused on voter education and participation. Throughout the fall, he made the initiative a top priority across all sports at Booker T. Washington High School.
Avery ensured all of his players, not just the eligible group working the polls, took part in various social justice conversations and voter education calls. Those who were eligible to volunteer, along with their head coach, spent time learning voting rules and regulations, watching educational videos and speaking with local legislators. On Election Day in November, eligible Booker T. Washington players volunteered at polling precincts throughout metro-Atlanta thanks to Avery’s guidance.
“I love football, I love sports, it comes naturally when you love what you’re doing. You never think about the accolades or gifts,” Avery said. “It’s an honor to be chosen. From out of 400 coaches in Georgia to the 32 outstanding coaches from the clubs, it really is an honor.”
“The Atlanta Falcons are thrilled that Coach Avery has been named the 2020 NFL Don Shula High School Coach of the Year,” Atlanta Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay said. “This past year, he was instrumental in having his team participate in the Falcons’ player-led Social Justice Committee’s Rise Up and Vote Campaign and become involved in their community on Atlanta’s westside. In addition to leading a successful group of young men on the field, Coach Avery serves as a role model for his players and fellow coaches off the field as well and truly embodies the spirit of this award.”
In partnership with Nike, Avery and Booker T. Washington High School’s football program will receive $30,000. Avery will also be invited to attend Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.
The 2019 winner was Matt Land of Dalton High School in northwest Georgia.
Nominees for the Don Shula Award come from all 32 NFL clubs. Avery was nominated by the Atlanta Falcons.
Below are the finalists for this year’s award.
2020-2021 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominees.
|Arizona Cardinals||Rick Garretson||Chandler High School|
|Atlanta Falcons||Derrick Avery||Booker T. Washington High School|
|Baltimore Ravens||Emanuel Glover||Reginald F. Lewis High School|
|Buffalo Bills||Derek Annechino||Aquinas Institute|
|Carolina Panthers||Jupiter Wilson||Hickory Ridge High School|
|Chicago Bears||Robert Moynihan||Harlem High School|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Trevon Pendleton||Ironton|
|Cleveland Browns||Marty Gibbons||Lake Catholic High School|
|Dallas Cowboys||Rodney McLain||Poteet High School|
|Denver Broncos||Zac Lemon||Eaton High School|
|Detroit Lions||Rob Zimmerman||Dewitt (MI) High School|
|Green Bay Packers||Tom Chase||Randolph High School|
|Houston Texans||Jon Kay||North Shore Senior High School|
|Indianapolis Colts||Eric Moore||Center Grove|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Adam Geis||Sandalwood High School|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Tom Radke||Saint James Academy|
|Las Vegas Raiders||Jon Hicks||Las Vegas High School|
|Los Angeles Chargers||Gabriel Arellano||Montebello High School|
|Los Angeles Rams||Lorenzo Hernandez||Garfield High School|
|Miami Dolphins||Earl Sims||Gulliver Preparatory School|
|Minnesota Vikings||Rex Metzger||Hills-Beaver Creek High School|
|New England Patriots||Manny Lopez||Norwood High School|
|New Orleans Saints||Ryan Gregory||Oak Grove High School|
|New York Giants||Benjie Wimberly||Hackensack High School (N.J.)|
|New York Jets||Robert Gogerty||Cedar Grove High School|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Al Crosby||Saint John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Mark Lyons||Central Valley High School|
|San Francisco 49ers||Joe Bates||Skyline High School|
|Seattle Seahawks||Rick Steele||Hockinson High School|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Chris Davidson||Ridge Community High School|
|Tennessee Titans||Keith Henry||Coalfield High School|
|Washington Football Team||Eric Ludden||Massaponax High School|
Past Winners of the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award
2020 – Derrick Avery, Booker T. Washington (Georgia), nominated Atlanta Falcons
2019 – Matt Land, Dalton HS (Georgia), nominated by the Atlanta Falcons
Bruce Larson talks about Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award on HSFA Radio Show
2013 – Mike Grant, Eden Prairie (Minnesota), nominated by the Minnesota Vikings
Mike Grant talks about Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award on HSFA Radio Show
2012 – Steve Specht, St. Xavier (Ohio), nominated by the Seattle Seahawks
2011 – John McKissick, Summerville (South Carolina), nominated by the Carolina Panthers
2010 – Ray Seals, Madison (Texas), nominated by the Houston Texans