Panthers nominate Craddock for prestigious award

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The NFL announced today the high school football coaches nominated by the 32 NFL teams for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award, representing the best at the high school level. The Carolina Panthers nominated Jeff Craddock, the head coach of back-to-back state champion Tarboro. 

These coaches were recognized by their local NFL club for the prestigious award – named after Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history – for their character and integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety and on-field success.

“We are honored to celebrate the 32 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominees, as each embodies the integrity, commitment and character of Coach Shula,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “High school football coaches not only serve as leaders, but as role models dedicated to shaping the lives of young high school players on and off the field.”

All Don Shula Award nominees are invited to attend the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando, FL and will be recognized in special ways during the NFL’s week-long celebration of football. Throughout the week, coaches will receive VIP access and accommodations at various events such as Pro Bowl practices, the Play Football High School Skills Showdown and Play Football Celebrity Flag game; a chance to interact and engage with various members of the football community; and attend the Pro Bowl. Each coach will also have an opportunity to invite a senior on their roster to participate in the Skills Showdown to represent their high school football community.

“It was truly the honor of a lifetime to be recognized as one of the elite high school coaches in the nation,” said ROBERT GARRETT, 2017 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award winner. “As a coach, you never seek individual recognition or accolades and the priority is always helping young men to achieve their highest potential, but being nominated for the Don Shula Coach of the Year Award is special and this year’s nominees should be proud.”

Two finalists will each receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to their high school’s football program. They will also attend Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta as special guests of the NFL. The Don Shula Award winner will be announced during the 2019 Pro Bowl, airing Sunday, Jan. 27 at 3 PM ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and simulcast on ABC. The winner will also be recognized and walk the red carpet at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 2, the eve of Super Bowl LIII, at 9 PM (ET and PT) on CBS.

The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year winner is selected by a panel of distinguished individuals:

  • Pro Football Hall of Famer, Coach DON SHULA – the winningest coach in NFL history
  • 2017 Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award Winner ROBERT GARRETT
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame President DAVID BAKER
  • Former Dallas Cowboys Personnel Director and contributor GIL BRANDT
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and current NBC analyst TONY DUNGY
  • Executive Director of USA Football SCOTT HALLENBECK
  • 3-time Super Bowl Champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX) WILLIE MCGINEST
  • 2x AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year and current head coach at the Sayre SchoolCHAD PENNINGTON
  • Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl XXXV Champion ROD WOODSON
  • Former Secretary of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE, Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Aplington-Parkersburg High School Principal AARON THOMAS, son of the school’s late football coach, Ed Thomas

Below is a full list of the 2018 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominees. For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit or follow @NFLFoundation on Twitter.




Arizona Cardinals

Highland High School

Brock Farrell

Atlanta Falcons

Pike County High School

Brad Weber

Baltimore Ravens

Glenleg High School

Butch Schaffer

Buffalo Bills

Clymer-Sherman-Panama High School

Ty Harper

Carolina Panthers

Tarboro High School

Jeff Craddock

Chicago Bears

Sacred Heart-Griffin

Ken Leonard

Cincinnati Bengals

Wyoming High School

Aaron Hancock

Cleveland Browns

Kirtland High School

Tiger Laverde

Dallas Cowboys

Duncanville High School

Reginald Samples

Denver Broncos

Sedgwick County High School

Chris Michel

Detroit Lions

Reading High School

Rick Bailey

Green Bay Packers

Muskego High School

Ken Krause

Houston Texans

Santa Fe High School

Mark Kanipes

Indianapolis Colts

Warren Central

Jayson West

Jacksonville Jaguars

Mandarin High School

Bobby Ramsay

Kansas City Chiefs

North Kansas City High School

Leon Douglas

Los Angeles Chargers

Lawndale High School

Travis Clark

Los Angeles Rams

Mater Dei High School

Bruce Rollinson

Miami Dolphins

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Aaron Feis

Minnesota Vikings

Owatonna Senior High School

Jeff Williams

New England Patriots

North Andover High School

John Dubzinski

New Orleans Saints

Notre Dame High School

Lewis Cook

New York Giants

Hasbrouck Heights High School

Nick Delcalzo

New York Jets

Midwood High School

Anthony Odita

Oakland Raiders

Canyon Springs High School

Gus McNair

Philadelphia Eagles

St. Joseph’s Preparatory School

Gabe Infante

Pittsburgh Steelers

Upper St. Clair High School

Jim Render

San Francisco 49ers

Liberty High School

Ryan Partridge

Seattle Seahawks

Colville High School

Randy Cornwell

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pinellas Park High School

Kenneth Crawford

Tennessee Titans

Oakland High School

Kevin Creasy

Washington Redskins

Highland Springs High School

Loren Johnson

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