Eden Prairie High School Head Football Coach MIKE GRANT was named the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year, it was announced today. As the national Shula Award winner, Grant 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.
Nominated by the Minnesota Vikings, Grant, of Eden Prairie, MN, 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 and safety, and to the integrity, achievement, and leadership exemplified by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula. Grant is a 35 year coaching veteran and the son of Vikings Hall of Fame Coach Bud Grant.
The other finalists were Tri-Central High School Head Football Coach GEORGE GILBERT of Kirklin, IN and Katy High School Athletic Coordinator and Head Football Coach GARY JOSEPH from Katy, TX. 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 nominees are active or retired high school football coaches nominated by NFL teams or players for their character and integrity, inspirational leadership, commitment to the community and on-field success.
As part of his nomination, Grant wrote of his responsibility as a coach: “You have to make great decisions. We talk about thoughtfully deciding who you are going to run with in your group of friends. What is your story going to be when you are done here? Will people think of you as an outstanding person or as someone who never achieved what they could have? We provide support through our school and coaches for kids struggling with family issues and let them know that they have a family here with our football team that will have their back!” Grant coached San Francisco 49ers OT CARTER BYKOWSKI along with former NFL players JOE FOREMAN and MARK LEVOIR.
“The Vikings have enjoyed a strong connection to the Grant family over several decades,” said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. “Like his father Bud, Mike has been an outstanding representative of the state of Minnesota. His advocacy for the Vikings youth football efforts is appreciated and we are extremely proud of Mike’s well-deserved accomplishment.”
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 Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN MADDEN; General RAYMOND ODIERNO, Army Chief of Staff; SAM PALMISANO, Retired Chairman of the Board, IBM Corporation; 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 in Parkersburg, IA.