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Coach of the Week

Tim Roken of Saint Joseph's Prep is the 2023 Eagles' High School Coach of the Year

Saint Joseph's Prep's Tim Roken
Saint Joseph's Prep's Tim Roken

With an impressive resume on and off the field, Tim Roken of Saint Joseph's Prep is the Eagles' 2023 High School Coach of the Year. He was also the organization's nominee for the NFL's Don Shula High School Coach of the Year Award.

Roken led the No. 1 high school program in Pennsylvania, per MaxPreps, to a 13-1 record, a District 12 6A City Championship, and a PIAA 6A State Championship.

Off the field, his dedication to player safety and the wellness of others does not go unnoticed. Whether it be participating in USA Football's Heads Up Tackling or working with the nonprofit organization Simon's Heart, Roken is committed to doing what is best for the community.

"Over the past 14 years, Coach Roken has dedicated himself to building a culture that positively shapes the lives of his players and allows them to make a meaningful impact both on and off the field," said Daniel Levy, Manager of Youth Football & Community Relations, Philadelphia Eagles.

"Coach Roken's on-field performance speaks for itself, but he is much more than a football coach. He is a leader of not only men, but an entire community. His passion for helping others reach their full potential is inspiring and why he is so deserving of this recognition. On behalf of the Eagles, I want to congratulate Coach Roken on being nominated for this distinguished honor."

The former East Stroudsburg University quarterback began coaching at Saint Joseph's Prep in 2010 as the program's quarterbacks coach. After a successful first season in North Philadelphia, Roken was promoted to offensive coordinator, a post he held from 2011-18.

During that time, Roken coached Eagles running back D'Andre Swift and wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus.

"That speaks tremendous volumes," Swift said of Roken's award. "They do a great job over there, so I am happy for them and happy for Coach Roken."

Roken worked under Head Coach Gabe Infante, the 2018 Don Shula High School Coach of the Year, for eight seasons before Infante left to coach the running backs at Temple University.

Since taking over as head coach in 2019, Roken has an impressive 54-7 record. He was selected as the All-American Bowl East Coach in 2021 and, in 2022, won the Eastern Pennsylvania High School Coach of the Year for Class 6A.

He has led the program to four Class 6A State Championships (2019, 2020, 2022, 2023) during his tenure as head coach and, including his time as an assistant coach, is an eight-time Pennsylvania State Champion. Roken was also named the Eagles' Week 2 High School Coach of the Week in 2023.

"I am forever grateful for him," Zaccheaus said. "Being able to grow up and see where he has been able to take his coaching career is cool to see, so I am very happy for him."

While Roken loves winning, and he has done a lot of it, the most important thing for him is the health and safety of his players and Saint Joseph's Prep students.

Dating back to Infante's days as head coach, the program has participated in USA Football's Heads Up Tackling, something that Roken has continued. Heads Up Tackling provides drills, tips, and information on how to tackle properly and safely.

His players take the ImPact test, a computerized concussion assessment before the season starts. Roken's players' parents are also trained in recognizing and communicating concussion symptoms to help provide extra precaution.

"It takes a village," Roken said. "People need to be aware of the symptoms of a concussion, making sure they are treating it in the proper way, and not putting that individual back in harm's way."

Roken is passionate about teaching his players and the entire Prep community about cardiac arrests and CPR. In April 2015, Ryan Gillyard, a 15-year-old Saint Joseph's Prep football player, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during conditioning drills and lost his life.

The program now teams up with Simon's Heart, a local organization that focuses on preventing sudden cardiac arrests in children, to evaluate heart deformities and teach CPR. The entire school is offered the opportunity to be tested each year by medical professionals from Simon's Heart in hopes of catching and preventing heart issues. The Prep also raises money for the foundation throughout the year.

Roken instills a culture within his team that promotes academic excellence and community service. This has helped his players grow as men off the field while helping them build chemistry in the locker room and on the gridiron.

"At the high school level, their minds, bodies, and souls are still developing," Roken said. "We want to make sure that we are allowing them to grow."

Roken and his coaches monitor their players' academic standing and require a daily study hall before practice during the season.

The program hosts a gun buyback every year and always participates in community service initiatives in North Philadelphia.

"Coach Roken is my guy," Swift said. "He used to take me home after practice. That is one of my favorite men who helped shape me into the man that I am and the man that I am becoming."

The Eagles will provide St. Joseph's with $5,500 in recognition of Coach Roken's honor. Additionally, Roken will receive a $1,000 personal award on behalf of the NFL.

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