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July 2019
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NFL Foundation names Gabe Infante as 2018 Don Shula High School Coach of the Year




Don Shula 2009 photo By U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley, Public Domain, https

Gabe Infante (courtesy Temple Owls)




















The NFL Foundation announced that head football coach GABE INFANTE of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, PA, is the 2018 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 2019 Pro Bowl Festivities presented by Verizon.

“Teaching and developing football at the youth level is paramount to the future success of the game,” said DON SMOLENSKI, Philadelphia Eagles president. “Gabe’s body of work as a football coach and his commitment to the sport, both on and off the field, is admirable.”

Infante has been the head football coach at St. Joseph’s Prep since 2010, compiling a record of 91-23 (.798 winning percentage). In nine seasons at the Prep, his teams have played for five state titles, while capturing four of the last six – including the 2018 and 2016 6A state title, and back-to-back titles in 2014 & 2013. All four teams finished the season ranked number one in Pennsylvania. Recently the Hawks finished 13-0 and were ranked as high as sixth nationally by USA Today, Max Preps and Football America.


“While his on-field su​ccess at St. Joseph’s Prep has made Philadelphia and the surrounding community very proud, it is his work with USA Football and charitable organizations like Simon’s Heart that truly demonstrates the reason he’s this year’s winner. On behalf of the Philadelphia football community, we would like to congratulate Gabe on being recognized as the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year,” added Smolenski.

A two-time Don Shula High School Coach of the Year nominee, Infante is a member of USA Football’s Advisory Committee and is a Master Trainer in USA Football’s Heads Up program. Infante travels around the country conducting player safety clinics and helps promote the program’s techniques and benefits to youth and high school coaches. He and the Prep program were featured in a segment on NFL Network on the subject. ​


Nominees for the Don Shula Award from all 32 clubs were invited and recognized in special ways during the NFL’s week-long celebration of football at the Pro Bowl in Orlando.

Throughout the week, coaches received VIP access and accommodations at various events such as Pro Bowl practices, the Play Football High School Skills Showdown and Play Football Celebrity Flag game; interacted and engaged with members of the football community; and attend the Pro Bowl. Each coach had the opportunity to invite a senior on their roster to participate in the Skills Showdown to represent their high school football community.

The runner-up was Carolina Panthers nominee JEFF CRADDOCK from Tarboro High School in Tarboro North Carolina. Craddock will receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to his high school’s football program.


The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year winner is selected by a panel of distinguished individuals:

  • Pro Football Hall of Famer, Coach DON SHULA – the winningest coach in NFL history
  • 2017 Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award Winner ROBERT GARRETT
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame President DAVID BAKER
  • Former Dallas Cowboys Personnel Director and contributor GIL BRANDT
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and current NBC analyst TONY DUNGY
  • Executive Director of USA Football SCOTT HALLENBECK
  • 3-time Super Bowl Champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX) WILLIE MCGINEST
  • 2x AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year and current head coach at the Sayre School CHAD PENNINGTON
  • Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl XXXV Champion ROD WOODSON
  • Former Secretary of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE, Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Aplington-Parkersburg High School Principal AARON THOMAS, son of the school’s late football coach, Ed Thomas

Below is a full list of the 2018 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominees. For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit or follow @NFLFoundation on Twitter.


Arizona Cardinals Highland High School Brock Farrel
Atlanta Falcons Pike County High School Brad Weber
Baltimore Ravens Glenelg High School Butch Schaffer
Buffalo Bills Clymer-Sherman-Panama High School Ty Harper
Carolina Panthers Tarboro High School Jeff Craddock
Chicago Bears Sacred Heart-Griffin Ken Leonard
Cincinnati Bengals Wyoming High School Aaron Hancock
Cleveland Browns Kirtland High School Tiger Laverde
Dallas Cowboys Duncanville High School Reginald Samples
Denver Broncos Sedgwick County High School Chris Michel
Detroit Lions Reading High School Rick Bailey
Green Bay Packers Muskego High School Ken Krause
Houston Texans Santa Fe High School Mark Kanipes
Indianapolis Colts Warren Central Jayson West
Jacksonville Jaguars Mandarin High School Bobby Ramsay
Kansas City Chiefs North Kansas City High School Leon Douglas
Los Angeles Chargers Lawndale High School Travis Clark
Los Angeles Rams Mater Dei High School Bruce Rollinson
Miami Dolphins Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Aaron Feis
Minnesota Vikings Owatonna Senior High School Jeff Williams
New England Patriots North Andover High School John Dubzinski
New Orleans Saints Notre Dame High School Lewis Cook
New York Giants Hasbrouck Heights High School Nick Delcalzo
New York Jets Midwood High School Anthony Odita
Oakland Raiders Canyon Springs High School Gus McNair
Philadelphia Eagles St. Joseph’s Preparatory School Gabe Infante
Pittsburgh Steelers Upper St. Clair High School Jim Render
San Francisco 49ers Liberty High School Ryan Partridge
Seattle Seahawks Colville High School Randy Cornwell
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pinellas Park High School Kenneth Crawford
Tennessee Titans Oakland High School Kevin Creasy
Washington Redskins Highland Springs High School Loren Johnson


About The NFL Foundation: The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country.

The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support our game. For more information on The NFL Foundation, visit:

About Play Football: Play Football is a year-round initiative celebrating youth and high school football. Play Football works to shape the football experience, advocate for safety, promote football values and connect football communities. For more information, featured football stories, best practices and resources aimed to create a positive playing experience, please visit or follow @NFLPlayFootball. Join the conversation on social media using #LetsPlayFootball.