By Tiffany Williams –
On Saturday, the NFL announced the AFC and NFC recipients of the 2022 NFL Don Shula High School Coach of the Year Award.
For the first time, the NFL recognized the top high school coach from each conference as nominated by their respective NFL clubs. The honor is given to the high school football coaches that best represents character, integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to player protection and on-field success, in honor of the late Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history.
Coach Matt Gallagher of the Maine-Endwell High School In Endwell, NY, was nominated by the New York Giants to represent the NFC.
Coach Gallagher led his team to a second consecutive state championship after a 13-0 season, compiling a 140-24 record in 15 seasons and winning six state championships.
Off the field, the high school football team is connected to the youth football program, with Spartans players and coaches helping coach area youth. The football team’s community impact includes raking leaves, shoveling snow, setting up events at the high school, and serving as mentors for elementary school students.
“I love football and I love coaching football,” said Gallagher. “But most importantly, I believe football is a vehicle to teach young students perseverance, respect, integrity, and the many characteristics that make us good people and contributing members of our community.”
The AFC recipient of the award is Coach Clive Harding from Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, NY. Coach Harding, who is a retired New York City police officer and first responder was nominated by the New York Jets.
Harding has coached at Boy’s and Girl’s High School in Brooklyn since 2009 and this year led his team to an undefeated 10-0 season.
Aside from football drills, Harding coaches his team for life beyond football. Throughout the season, his team has mock interviews and career prep, so they are prepared for job interviews and college recruiters. He cares deeply about education and setting academic goals for all of his players.
“My reward is seeing the success they have after high school – playing college football, earning their degrees, getting their first job,” said Harding. “Every year I have the opportunity to impact students not only on the football field but preparing them for life.”
In partnership with Nike, as the 2022 Don Shula NFL High School Coaches of the Year, Harding and Gallagher will each receive $15,000 for their high school football programs. And each coach will receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Both Harding and Gallagher will attend Super Bowl LVII in Arizona and will be recognized at NFL Honors.