Aquinas coach named by Bills for national award

High School Sports
Derek Annechino

Derek Annechino, head coach of the Aquinas football team, has been selected by the Buffalo Bills as one of 32 nominees for the 2021 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award.  

The NFL announced today the high school football coaches nominated by all 32 NFL teams for the award, representing the best at the high school level.

These coaches were recognized by their local NFL club for the prestigious award – named after the late
Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history – for their character and
integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety and on-field

“This year’s 32 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year nominees represent the crucial role that
high school football coaches play in positively shaping the character of players,” said NFL Vice President
of Philanthropy and Executive Director of the NFL Foundation, Alexia Gallagher. “We are proud to
honor these coaches who have provided exemplary mentorship to student-athletes both on and off the

Two finalists will be selected and a winner will be announced this summer. Nike, a presenting partner,
and the NFL Foundation will award $12,500 to the Don Shula Award winner while the associated high
school football program will be awarded $17,500. The second finalist will receive $7,500 while the
associated high school football program will be awarded $12,500.

In addition, the other 30 finalists will receive $1,000 each. The way in which the NFL will provide a future Super Bowl experience to the winner and runner up as they have in past years is yet to be determined.

“It is great to collaborate with Nike and other partners to celebrate coaches and the positive influence they
have on high school student-athletes,” said NFL Vice President of Football Development Roman Oben.
“Congratulations to this year’s nominees, especially given the challenges presented over the past year”.

No word on exactly when the finalists or the award winner will be announced.

Annechino led Aquinas to a 4-2 record in the Covid shortened spring football season.

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