National Football League announces nominees for 202–2021 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year

don shula nfl high school coach of the year
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The 32 finalists for the 2020-2021 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award are some of the best that sport has to offer. On Thursday, the NFL announced the finalists in the running for the prestigious award named after the National Football League’s all-time winningest coach, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

The coaches (below) were recognized by their local NFL club for their character and integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety and on-field success.

“This year’s 32 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominees represent the crucial role that high school football coaches play in positively shaping the character of players,” said NFL Vice President of Philanthropy and Executive Director of the NFL Foundation, Alexia Gallagher. “We are proud to honor these coaches who have provided exemplary mentorship to student-athletes both on and off the field.”

Two finalists will be selected and a winner will be announced this summer. Nike, a presenting partner, and the NFL Foundation will award $12,500 to the Don Shula Award winner while the associated High School football program will be awarded $17,500. The second finalist will receive $7,500 while the associated High School football program will be awarded $12,500. In addition, the other 30 finalists will receive $1,000 each.

“It is great to collaborate with Nike and other partners to celebrate coaches and the positive influence they have on high school student-athletes,” said NFL Vice President of Football Development Roman Oben. “Congratulations to this year’s nominees, especially given the challenges presented over the past year”.

Three of this year’s nominees led their schools to a national ranking in the 2020-21 High School Football America 100 powered by NFL Play Football, the NFL’s initiative to provide fun and engaging experience for players of all ages and skill levels.

Related: 2020-21 HSFA 100 national rankings

The Houston Texans named North Shore’s Jon Kay as their Coach of the Year after the Mustangs came-up a game short of defending their back-to-back Class 6A Division I state titles. North Shore finished No. 8 in the final Top 100 after spending most of the 2020-21 season ranked No. 1.

Arizona Cardinals‘ High School Coach of the Year Rick Garretson led Chandler to a No. 17 finish in our national rankings after the Wolves won the state’s Open Division. It was the Wolves fifth straight state championship.

Eric Moore of Center Grove is the Indianapolis Colts Coach of the Year. Last year, Moore led the Trojans to a 6A state championship and a No. 15 ranking in our national rankings.

2021 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominees.

Arizona CardinalsRick GarretsonChandler High School
Atlanta FalconsDerrick AveryBooker T. Washington High School
Baltimore RavensEmanuel GloverReginald F. Lewis High School
Buffalo BillsDerek AnnechinoAquinas Institute
Carolina PanthersJupiter WilsonHickory Ridge High School
Chicago BearsRobert MoynihanHarlem High School
Cincinnati BengalsTrevon PendletonIronton
Cleveland BrownsMarty GibbonsLake Catholic High School
Dallas CowboysRodney McLainPoteet High School
Denver BroncosZac LemonEaton High School
Detroit LionsRob ZimmermanDewitt (MI) High School
Green Bay PackersTom ChaseRandolph High School
Houston TexansJon KayNorth Shore Senior High School
Indianapolis ColtsEric MooreCenter Grove
Jacksonville JaguarsAdam GeisSandalwood High School
Kansas City ChiefsTom RadkeSaint James Academy
Las Vegas RaidersJon HicksLas Vegas High School
Los Angeles ChargersGabriel ArellanoMontebello High School
Los Angeles RamsLorenzo HernandezGarfield High School
Miami DolphinsEarl SimsGulliver Preparatory School
Minnesota VikingsRex MetzgerHills-Beaver Creek High School
New England PatriotsManny LopezNorwood High School
New Orleans SaintsRyan GregoryOak Grove High School
New York GiantsBenjie WimberlyHackensack High School (N.J.)
New York JetsRobert GogertyCedar Grove High School
Philadelphia EaglesAl CrosbySaint John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School
Pittsburgh SteelersMark LyonsCentral Valley High School
San Francisco 49ersJoe BatesSkyline High School
Seattle SeahawksRick SteeleHockinson High School
Tampa Bay BuccaneersChris DavidsonRidge Community High School
Tennessee TitansKeith HenryCoalfield High School
Washington Football TeamEric LuddenMassaponax High School

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

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

2018 – Gabe Infante, St. Joseph’s Prep (Pennsylvania), nominated by the Philadelphia Eagles

2017 – Robert Garrett, Crenshaw (California), nominated by the Los Angeles Chargers

2016 – Randy Allen, Highland Park (Texas), nominated by the Dallas Cowboys

2015 – Michael Burnett, Tuscarora (Virginia), nominated by the Washington Football Team

2014 – 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.