As the NFL playoff season begins, many players will use skills they learned on the high school football field. To recognize the coaches who helped shape them during their teenage years, nearly 100 NFL players nominated their football coaches for the 2007 NFL High School Football Coach of the Year Award.
Dallas Cowboys LB Bradie James nominated coach Don Shows of West Monroe (La.) High School. In his nomination essay, James called Shows "a positive influence on high school football in Louisiana for several decades." In nominating coach Elvin James of Goldsboro (N.C.) High School, Tennessee Titans LB David Thornton wrote, "…he knew how to motivate his team. Guys could feel his passion for the game." Thornton's teammate, Titans DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, recognized coach Jay Rozeboom of West Lyon Community High School in Inwood, Iowa, noting, "Jay was not only a good coach but he was good at teaching players about life."
Seattle Seahawks DE Darryl Tapp nominated coach David Cox of Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake, Va., praising his "high code of ethics" and his ability to "boost self and team moral." And New York Jets RB Leon Washington recognized coach Kevin Sullivan of Andrew Jackson Senior High School in Jacksonville, Fla., for his "reputation in the state of Florida for what he has done with the kids in the 'tough' Eastside Jacksonville Community, sending many to college with more discipline and structure into their lives."
For a complete list of the 2007 nominees visit www.NFLHS.com
The NFL High School Football Coach of the Year Award was created in 1995 by the NFL and its teams to honor coaches who profoundly impacted the athletic and personal development of current NFL players.
The five finalists will be announced during the week of Jan. 13 and will receive $2,500 cash awards and $5,000 grants for their high school football programs. The winner, announced during the week of Jan. 20, will attend Super Bowl XLII in Arizona as a guest of the NFL and receive a $5,000 cash award and a $10,000 grant for his high school football program. All grants will be awarded by the NFL Youth Football Fund (YFF).
Established in 1998 by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the NFL Youth Football Fund seeks to use football as a catalyst to promote positive youth development, support youth and high school football needs nationwide, and ensure the health of grassroots football in future generations. Through the YFF's initiatives and support programs, youngsters are provided with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors.