The NFL Foundation announced that head football coach Gabe Infante of Philadelphia's St. Joseph's Prep is the 2018 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year.
"I'm truly humbled and honored to be considered for such an award when you consider how many high school coaches there are around the country on an annual basis who work with their kids and make great sacrifices for them," said Infante, who was honored at Sunday's Pro Bowl.
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 today during the 2019 Pro Bowl presented by Verizon.
"Teaching and developing football at the youth level is paramount to the future success of the game," said Eagles president Don Smolenski. "Gabe's body of work as a football coach and his commitment to the sport, both on and off the field, is admirable."
Infante was 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 titles, and back-to-back titles in 2014 & 2013. All four teams finished the season ranked No. 1 in Pennsylvania. Recently the Hawks finished 13-0 and were ranked as high as sixth nationally by USA Today, Max Preps and High School Football America. Following the 2018 season, Infante was named a defensive assistant at Temple University.
"While his on-field success 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.