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Robert Garrett of Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles is the 2017 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year. The award, named for the winningest coach in NFL history, was created to honor exemplary high school football coaches for their character and integrity, leadership and dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety and on-field success.
The announcement was made during the 2018 Pro Bowl. Nominees for the Don Shula Award from all 32 clubs were recognized in special ways during the NFL's week-long celebration of football 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, Coach 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 the NFL’s guest during Super Bowl LII and walk the red carpet at NFL Honors, a two-hour awards special to air on Feb. 3, the eve of Super Bowl LII, at 9 PM (ET and PT) on NBC.
"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. As men of great character and integrity, the respect and love they show for Coach Garrett is telling. 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 a 12-3 record this season, including a 5-0 record in league play. In the CIF Los Angeles City Section Playoffs, the Cougars made it to the Championship Game, where they fell to the reigning champion Narbonne Gauchos.
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 against Placer High School, which the Cougars won, 46-43.
Coach Garrett's success on the field is matched by his leadership and role as a mentor to student-athletes. He is the former coach of two current Chargers — 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 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 program.
Coach Garrett was selected by a distinguished panel, including two-time Super Bowl champion (XLI, 50) and five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning, Super Bowl XLII champion and Good Morning America contributor Michael Strahan and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker.
The selection panel also includes:
|2017 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Nominees|
|NOMINATING TEAM||SCHOOL NAME||COACH|
|Arizona Cardinals||Saguaro High School||Jason Mohns|
|Atlanta Falcons||North Gwinnett High School||Bill Stewart|
|Baltimore Ravens||Harford Technical High School||Timothy Palmer|
|Buffalo Bills||West Seneca West High School||Mike Vastola|
|Carolina Panthers||Clinton High School||Andrew Webb|
|Chicago Bears||Rochester High School||Derek Leonard|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Covington Catholic High School||Eddie Eviston|
|Cleveland Browns||Bay High School||Ron Rutt|
|Dallas Cowboys||Frisco Lone Star High School||Jeffrey Rayburn|
|Denver Broncos||Pueblo South High School||Ryan Goddard|
|Detroit Lions||Warren De La Salle Collegiate High School||Mike Giannone|
|Green Bay Packers||Kimberly High School||Steve Jones|
|Houston Texans||Oak Ridge High School||Brian Fitzgerald|
|Indianapolis Colts||Ben Davis High School||Mike Kirschner|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Bartram Trail High School||Darrell Sutherland|
|Kansas City Chiefs*||Staley High School (Missouri)||Phil Lite Staley|
|Kansas City Chiefs*||DeSoto High School (Kansas)||Brian King|
|Los Angeles Chargers||Crenshaw High School||Robert Garrett|
|Los Angeles Rams||Mission Viejo High School||Bob Johnson|
|Miami Dolphins||American Heritage School||Pat Surtain|
|Minnesota Vikings||South St. Paul||Chad Sexauer|
|New England Patriots||Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School||Paul Funk|
|New Orleans Saints||West St. John High School||Brandon Walters|
|New York Giants||Newton High School||Matt Parzero|
|New York Jets||Franklin K. Lane Campus High School||Jason Mollison|
|Oakland Raiders||Kennedy High School||George Jackson|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Downington High School||Michael Matta|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Quaker Valley High School||Jerry Veshio|
|San Francisco 49ers||Gilroy High School||Jubenal Rodriquez|
|Seattle Seahawks||Royal High School||Wiley Allred|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Citrus High School||Nate Varnadore|
|Tennessee Titans||Brentwood Academy||Cody White|
|Washington Redskins||Dinwiddie High School||Billy Mills|
*Indicates team has more than one nominee