The NFL announced Bennett High School's Steve McDuffie as the Buffalo Bills' nominee for the 2022 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award.
McDuffie led Bennett to the school's first ever NYSPHSAA Class AA championship in a resounding win, 42-8 against Newburgh Free Academy in December. This win avenged Bennett's loss of the state title game last year. McDuffie became the first black head coach in New York state history to win a state championship.
Off the field, McDuffie, Bennett players and staff contribute to the Archie L. Hunter community outreach mentoring program with YMCA Buffalo Niagara each year. The group raises funds with an annual track meet and an annual fundraiser on Martin Luther King Day. The head coach also played a large part in the resurgence of the Westside Little League football program.
These high school 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. The coaches were judged based on areas Coach Shula excel at most during his career - character, 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 ROMAN OBEN. "High school football coaches serve as leaders and role models dedicated to shaping the lives of young high school players both on and off the field and this group represents the very best from across the country every year."
For the first time, the NFL will recognize two winners, one from each conference, AFC & NFC. These two winners will be invited to the Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas on February 5th 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 to attend the Pro Bowl Games practices for both AFC & NFC teams, on field access at Sunday's Pro Bowl Games, and a chance to interact and engage with various members of the football community.
The NFL Foundation and Nike have teamed up to provide the two winners a $15,000 award to their high school football programs and a $10,000 cash award. The other 30 club nominees will all receive a $1,000 cash award. They will also attend Super Bowl LVII in Arizona as special guests of the NFL. The Don Shula Award winners will be announced in the week prior to the Pro Bowl Games, the multi-day AFC vs. NFC competition that will culminate in an action-packed flag game featuring Pro Bowl players at Allegiant Stadium, and will air on ESPN and ABC on Sunday, February 5, 2023. The winners will also be recognized and walk the red carpet at the 12th annual NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on February 9 at 9:00 PM ET, (ET and PT) on FOX.
The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year winner is selected by a panel of distinguished individuals:
- NFL Analyst and former front office executive SCOTT PIOLI
- Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and current ESPN contributor PEYTON MANNING
- Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and current NBC analyst TONY DUNGY
- Executive Director of USA Football SCOTT HALLENBECK
- Former All-Pro cornerback BOBBY TAYLOR
- NFL Legend and NFL Network analyst MICHAEL ROBINSON
- Super Bowl Champion and NFL Vice President of Football Development ROMAN OBEN
- Aplington-Parkersburg High School Principal AARON THOMAS, son of the school's late football coach, Ed Thomas
- NFL Legend, former NFL Head Coach and son of the late Coach Shula DAVE SHULA
For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit nflfoundation.org or follow @NFLFoundation on Twitter.
The Buffalo Bills and ADPRO Sports are proud to once again partner to recognize some of the best coaches that Western New York has to offer through the 2022 High School Football Coach of the Week Program. Throughout the football season, the Bills and ADPRO Sports awarded varsity head tackle football coaches with the Coach of the Week Award to highlight not only their team's achievements on the field but also some of the work they are doing off the field in their communities.
During halftime of Sunday's Bill-Patriots game, Steve McDuffie from Bennett and Jeff Cusmano from Attica were recognized as the Coaches of the Year for the Buffalo and Rochester regions.