The NFL and Los Angeles Chargers announced today that head football coach ROBERT GARRETTof Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, Calif. is the* 2017 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year. *The award was created to honor exemplary high school football coaches who demonstrate a commitment to player health and safety, and the integrity, achievement and leadership exemplified by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula.
The announcement was made during the 2018 Pro Bowl on ESPN. Nominees for the Don Shula Award from all 32 clubs were invited and recognized in special ways during the NFL's week-long celebration of football at the Pro Bowl in Orlando.
Nominated by the Los Angeles Chargers, Coach Garrett was one of two high school football coaches selected as finalists from a group of coaches nominated by NFL teams. As the national Don Shula Award Winner, Garrett will receive $25,000 from the NFL Foundation, $15,000 of which will go to his high school's football program. He will be a guest of the NFL during Super Bowl LII and walk the red carpet at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on Feb. 3, the eve of Super Bowl LII, at 9 PM (ET and PT) on NBC. NFL Honors will be taped earlier that evening at Northrop at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
"I had the opportunity to meet Coach Garrett last month after the Chargers nominated him for this award," said Chargers Head Coach ANTHONY LYNN. "Yes, he's turned Crenshaw High into a powerhouse over the 30 or so years he's been there, but more than the wins and losses, it's the number of lives he's touched and the young men he's mentored that matters most. That's why he's so deserving of this honor."
"And I can say that, without hesitation, because I've witnessed it first hand with Brandon (Mebane) and Hayes (Pullard) on our team. Not only are they men of great character and integrity, seeing the respect and love they have for Coach Garrett tells you all you need to know. I want to congratulate Coach Garrett on this much-deserved honor and thank him for dedicating his life to helping others achieve their dreams."
Coach Garrett led the Crenshaw Cougars to an impressive 12-3 record this season, including a 5-0 record in tough league play. In the CIF Los Angeles City Section Playoffs, the Cougars made it to the Championship Game, where they unfortunately fell to the reigning champion Narbonne Gauchos. However, Coach Garrett's team continued their playoff push in the State CIF playoffs, defeating San Diego County's El Camino High School to advance to the Division 4-AA Championship versus Placer High School. The Cougars were crowned the 2017 CIF Division 4-AA State Champions after a 46-43 victory.
Coach Garrett's success on the field is matched by his outstanding leadership and role as a mentor to young student-athletes. He is also the former coach of two current Los Angeles Chargers players, linebacker HAYES PULLARD and defensive tackle BRANDON MEBANE.
"He's a coach to many, to some he's a mentor, and to others maybe even a father," said Chargers linebacker HAYES PULLARD. "To us, he's all of the above. He's done many great things through the years at Crenshaw High that seem like they've almost gone unnoticed, until now. It's an honor to say, 'That's my Coach!'"
The runner-up was Seattle Seahawks nominee and Royal High School head football coach WILEY ALLRED of Royal City, Wa. Allred will receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to his high school football program.
All Don Shula Award nominees are active or retired high school football coaches 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.
Coach Garrett was selected by a panel of distinguished individuals. This year, the *Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year *Award selection panel consists of two-time Super Bowl champion (XLI, 50) and five-time NFL MVP PEYTON MANNING,Super Bowl XLII champion and Good Morning America contributor MICHAEL STRAHANand 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
- 2016 Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award Winner RANDY ALLEN
- Former Indianapolis Colts Coach and current NBC analyst TONY DUNGY
- Executive Director of USA Football SCOTT HALLENBECK
- Three-time Super Bowl Champion WILLIE MCGINEST
- 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
- Aplington-Parkersburg High School Principal and son of the school's late football coach, Ed Thomas, AARON THOMAS