Bill Cherpak was selected as the Pittsburgh Steelers' nominee for the *Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award, *it was announced today. Representing the best at the high school level, Coach Cherpak was nominated for the national award, named for the winningest coach in NFL history, for his character and integrity, leadership and dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety, and on-field success.
Coach Cherpak has just completed his 22nd year as head football coach at Thomas Jefferson High School, located just a few miles south of Heinz Field. In 2016, Thomas Jefferson finished with a 12-1 record, and the team won the WPIAL Class 4A Championship for the second straight season. Over his 22 seasons, he has built a true football powerhouse. Coach Cherpak boasts an overall record of 238-42, to go along with 18 conference championships, six WPIAL Championships, and three Pennsylvania State Championships. Coach "Cherp" also serves as Athletic Director at Thomas Jefferson, where he has assisted in helping hundreds of student athletes. He played on the offensive line at the University of Pittsburgh from 1985-1989.
Coach Cherpak will be invited and recognized in special ways during the NFL's week-long celebration of football at the 2017 Pro Bowl in Orlando. He will visit Pro Bowl practices, participate in the USA Football National Conference and attend the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium.
Two finalists will each receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to his high school's football program. The Shula Award winner will be announced during the third quarter of the 2017 Pro Bowl, airing Sunday, Jan. 29 at 8 PM ET on ESPN, and will receive an additional $10,000 from the NFL Foundation, $5,000 of which will go to his high school's football program. The winner will be recognized at a press conference on Friday, Feb. 3 during Super Bowl week in Houston and walk the red carpet at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special airing nationally on FOX on Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI.
The winner is selected by a panel of distinguished individuals. New to the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award selection panel this year are two-time Super Bowl champion (XLI, 50) and five-time NFL MVP PEYTON MANNING, Super Bowl XLII champion and Good Morning America contributor MICHAEL STRAHAN and Pro Football Hall of Fame President DAVID BAKER.
The selection panel also includes:
- Coach DON SHULA – the winningest coach in NFL history
- Former Dallas Cowboys Personnel Director and NFL.com contributor GIL BRANDT
- 2015 Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award Winner MICHAEL BURNETT
- Former Indianapolis Colts Coach and current NBC analyst TONY DUNGY
- Executive Director of USA Football SCOTT HALLENBECK
- Retired IBM CEO SAMUEL PALMISANO
- Former Secretary of State, Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business CONDOLEEZZA RICE
- Former Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association GRANT TEAFF Aplington-Parkersburg High School Principal and son of the school's late football coach, Ed Thomas, AARON THOMAS