Mount Lebanon (Pennsylvania) head coach Bob Palko named 2021 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year

Twitter photo by @SteelersYouthFB
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Bob Palko, who is spending the weekend in Las Vegas at the National Football League‘s Pro Bowl, is on quite a win streak.

In December, the legendary western Pennsylvania football coach led Mount Lebanon to its first-ever high school football state championship. On Sunday, Palko was named the winner of the 2021 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award.

Palko, who took-over the Mount Lebanon program in 2019 after 24 years at West Allegheny High School, was nominated for the award by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was one of 32 team nominees invited to Vegas.

By beating three-time defending Pennsylvania state champ St. Joseph’s Prep, Mount Lebanon finished No. 62 in the High School Football America 100 national rankings, powered by NFL Play Football.

The Don Shula Award is given to the high school football coach that best demonstrates integrity, achievement, and leadership, as well as a commitment to the health and safety of their players, as well as the impeccable characteristics of the late Shula.

Coach Palko receives $12,500 as the Don Shula Award winner. His football program will receive $17,500.

Past Winners of the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award

2020 – Derrick Avery, Booker T. Washington (Georgia), nominated by the Atlanta Falcons

2019 – Matt Land, Dalton HS (Georgia), nominated by the Atlanta Falcons

2018 โ€“ Gabe Infante, St. Josephโ€™s Prep (Pennsylvania), nominated by the Philadelphia Eagles

2017 โ€“ Robert Garrett, Crenshaw (California), nominated by the Los Angeles Chargers

2016 โ€“ Randy Allen, Highland Park (Texas), nominated by the Dallas Cowboys

2015 โ€“ Michael Burnett, Tuscarora (Virginia), nominated by the Washington Football Team

2014 โ€“ Bruce Larson, Somerset (Wisconsin), nominated by the Green Bay Packers

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

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.