St. Xavier High School Head Football Coach STEVE SPECHT was named the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year, it was announced today. As the national Shula Award winner, Specht will receive $25,000, $15,000 of which will go to his high school’s football program. He also is a guest of the NFL during Super Bowl Week. Shula congratulated Specht and presented him with the award at a press conference today in New Orleans.
Nominated by GREG SCRUGGS of the Seattle Seahawks, Specht, of Cincinnati, OH, was one of three high school football coaches from across the country named as a finalist for the award, which was created to honor exemplary high school football coaches who demonstrate a commitment to player health & safety, and the integrity, achievement, and leadership exemplified by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don
Shula. Scruggs surprised Specht at today’s ceremony.
The other finalists were Woodland Hills High School Head Football Coach GEORGE NOVAK from Pittsburgh, PA and James Logan High School Head Football Coach GEORGE ZUBER from Union City, CA. Each finalist receives a $2,500 cash award and a $5,000 grant for their high school football programs. A full list of all nominees for this year’s award is below.
All nominated coaches are active or retired high school football coaches and were nominated by NFL teams and players for their character and integrity, inspirational leadership, commitment to the community and on-field success.
In his nomination essay, Scruggs wrote, “Coach Specht is an honorable, respectable man of integrity who has made an impact in my life and every player he has touched.”
As part of his nomination, Specht wrote of his responsibility as a coach. “I think any great organization is composed of people that love one another, focus on the daily pursuit of excellence and understand that no one is able to succeed alone,” he said “I firmly believe that our responsibility as coaches and teachers is to equip these young men with tools that will motivate them for life, not just for a game.” Specht has coached five players who have gone on to play in the NFL. Specht also works closely with USA Football and is training to be a Master Trainer in their Heads Up Tackling program.
The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award selection panel is comprised of Coach Shula; former Dallas Cowboys Personnel Director and NFL.com contributor GIL BRANDT; former Indianapolis Colts Coach and current NBC analyst TONY DUNGY; veteran sportswriter JACK FLEISCHER; Executive Director of USA Football SCOTT HALLENBECK; Former Raiders Coach and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame JOHN MADDEN; General RAYMOND ODIERNO, Army Chief of Staff; Former Secretary of State, Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business CONDOLEEZA RICE; Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association GRANT TEAFF; and AARON THOMAS, Athletic Director at Aplington-Parkersburg High School and son of the school’s late football coach Ed Thomas.
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