The National Football League released today the names of the high school coaches nominated by the 32 NFL teams for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award.
“High school football coaches have a profound impact on the lives of young athletes. We are honored to recognize these individuals who embody the leadership and commitment to excellence demonstrated by Coach Shula,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Their dedication to developing young men of character will lead their players to success far beyond the field of play.”
The Miami Dolphins nominated Miami Carol City High School coach Aubrey Hill. Carol City won the FHSAA Class 6A State Championship, 13-6 over Lake Gibson (Lakeland), finishing the season (11-3).
The Jacksonville Jaguars nominated Ponte Vedra High School, coach Matthew Toblin. The Sharks finished (13-1), their only loss in the FHSAA Class 5A State Championship, 35-33 to American Heritage (Plantation).
Finally, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers nominated St. Petersburg High School, Coach Joe Fabrizio. The Green Devils suffered a tough loss in the first round of the FHSAA 7A playoffs, to Tampa Bay Tech, 48-45 in double overtime. Coach Fabrizio led the team to an (8-2) record.
Coaches aren’t necessarily nominated for the success of their team rather “for their character and integrity, leadership and dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety, and on-field success,” according to the NFL.
For the first time, Don Shula Award nominees from all 32 teams will be invited and recognized in special ways during the NFL’s week-long celebration of football at the 2017 Pro Bowl in Orlando. The coaches will visit Pro Bowl practices, participate in the USA Football National Conference and attend the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium. The coaches will be made available to media on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2 PM ET at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
Two finalists will each receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to his high school’s football program. The Shula Award winner will be announced during the third quarter of the 2017 Pro Bowl, airing Sunday, Jan. 29 at 8 PM ET on ESPN, and will receive an additional $10,000 from the NFL Foundation, $5,000 of which will go to his high school’s football program. The winner will be recognized at a press conference on Friday, Feb. 3 during Super Bowl week in Houston and walk the red carpet at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime award special airing nationally on FOX on Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI.
As for deciding the winner, a panel made of distinguished individuals will choose who is worthy. New to the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award selection panel this year are two-time Super Bowl champion (XLI, 50) and five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning, Super Bowl XLII champion and Good Morning America contributor Michael Strahan and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker.
The selection panel also includes:
- Coach Don Shula – the winningest coach in NFL history
- Former Dallas Cowboys Personnel Director and NFL.com contributor Gil Brandt
- 2015 Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award Winner Michael Burnett
- Former Indianapolis Colts Coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy
- Executive Director of USA Football Scott Hallenbeck
- Retired IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano
- 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
- Former Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association Grant Teaff
- Aplington-Parkersburg High School Principal and son of the school’s late football coach, Ed Thomas, Aaron Thomas
Make sure to tune into the third quarter of the 2017 Pro Bowl, airing Sunday, Jan. 29 at 8 PM ET on ESPN and watch to see who the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award.