After 60-years of coaching, South Carolina’s Summerville High School head football coach John McKissick was named the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Friday, via NFL press release.
As the national Shula Award winner, McKissick will receive $25,000, of which $15,000 will go to his high school’s football program. McKissick is also an honored guest for the NFL during Super Bowl Week. Shula congratulated McKissick and presented the coach with the award at a press conference in Indianapolis.
Nominated by the Carolina Panthers, McKissick was one of 47 football coaches from across the country named as candidates for the award, which was created to honor exemplary high school football coaches who display the integrity, achievement, and leadership demonstrated by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula.
All nominated coaches are active or retired high school football coaches and were nominated by NFL teams and players for their character and integrity, inspirational leadership, commitment to the community and on-field success.
“Coach McKissick’s legacy of leadership during his 60-year career is marked by his lifelong passion and commitment to serve others,” stated in a release statement from the Panthers’ organization via press release. “While his win total is unsurpassed, his true contributions to our region and the thousands of student-athletes he has inspired cannot be measured. The Carolina Panthers are proud to congratulate Coach John McKissick, a deserving recipient of the Shula Award and a man who personifies the ideals the award seeks to embody.”
As part of his nomination, McKissick wrote in a statement about his decision to be a coach: “It was my heart’s desire from as far back as I can remember to be a football coach and to work with young people. It has been very fulfilling and rewarding and nothing makes me happier than to see them as young, gangly kids and watch them mature and grow into strong, dedicated young men who go on to college or other choices and become professionals in whatever field they may choose.”
Several of McKissick’s players have gone on to play in the NFL.
The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award selection panel is comprised of: Shula, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, 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, and Former Raiders Coach and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame John Madden. General Raymond Odierno, Army Chief of Staff Sam Palmisano, Chairman of the Board, IBM, and 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.
In addition, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association Grant Teaff and Aaron Thomas, Athletic Director at Aplington-Parkersburg High School and son of the school’s late football coach Ed Thomas.