The NFL announced today the two finalists for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award. After nominees from each of the 32 NFL teams were announced at the beginning of January, the two finalists are Green Bay Packers nominee Steve Jones of Kimberly (Wisc.) and Dallas Cowboys nominee Randy Allen of Highland Park (Dallas, Texas).
Jones and Allen 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 awards special airing nationally on FOX on Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI.
The coaches were nominated by NFL teams for their character and integrity, leadership and dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety, and on-field success.
“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 in a press release. “Their dedication to developing young men of character will lead their players to success far beyond the field of play.”
For Kimberly’s Jones, his sixth season as head coach ended with a fourth straight state title. The Papermakers completed a perfect 14-0 season with a come-from-behind victory over Franklin High School to claim the WIAA Division 1 State Championship at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin on Nov. 18, extending the nation’s longest winning streak of 56 straight victories in the process.
Highland Park’s Allen, meanwhile, just closed out his 18th season as the Scots’ head coach by leading his team to a Class 5A Division 1 Texas State Championship with a 16-7 victory over Temple. The winningest program in the history of Texas high school football, this marks the Scots’ second state championship under Allen’s tenure – the last coming in 2005 with Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford at the helm.
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 upcoming 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 winner is selected by a panel that includes Shula, two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning, Super Bowl XLII champion and Good Morning America contributor Michael Strahan and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker.