If any high school coach looks like a throwback to yesteryear when he paces the sideline, then Highland Park’s Randy Allen certainly fits the bill.
He wears a long sleeve, buttoned up shirt with a blue and gold checkered tie, and he sports a fedora-style hat. Oh, he’s quite a good coach, too.
Allen guided the Scots to a 16-7 win over Temple for the 5A Division I state championship in 2016. He did it in AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones, whose grandson, John Stephen Jones, was Highland Park’s quarterback and offensive player of the game.
The Dallas Cowboys nominated Allen as their pick for the NFL’s Don Shula High School Coach of the Year award.
“High school football coaches have a profound impact on the lives of young athletes. We are honored to recognize these individuals who embody the leadership and commitment to excellence demonstrated by Coach Shula,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a release. “Their dedication to developing young men of character will lead their players to success far beyond the field of play.”
Allen guided Highland Park to a 14-2 record and impressive playoff run that included wins over Mansfield Lake Ridge, Mansfield Legacy and Denton Ryan. It was the school’s first state title since 2005 when quarterback Matthew Stafford led the Scots to a 59-0 win over Marshall.
Each NFL team nominated a coach that’s named after the winningest coach in NFL history. Houston Furr coach Matthew Valmore was the nominee selected by the Houston Texans. Valmore’s defense helped the Brahmas to a 5-5 regular season, he also teaches physical education at the Belfort Early Childhood center.
For the first time, Don Shula Award nominees from all 32 teams will be invited and recognized in special ways during the NFL’s week-long celebration of football at the 2017 Pro Bowl in Orlando. The coaches will visit Pro Bowl practices, participate in the USA Football National Conference and attend the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium.
Two finalists will each receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to his high school’s football program. The Shula Award winner will be announced during the third quarter of the 2017 Pro Bowl, airing Sunday, Jan. 29, and will receive an additional $10,000 from the NFL Foundation, $5,000 of which will go to his high school’s football program.
The winner will be recognized at a press conference on Friday, Feb. 3 during Super Bowl week in Houston and walk the red carpet at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special airing nationally on FOX on Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI.
The winner is selected by a panel of distinguished individuals, including Shula, five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning, Super Bowl XLII champion and Good Morning America contributor Michael Strahan, Tony Dungy, Grant Teaff, Condoleezza Rice and other noted contributors to football.
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