NFL announces 2023 Don Shula NFL High School Coaches of the Year

NFL Published on : 2/1/2024
  • Coach chosen from each conference to represent the AFC and NFC

The NFL has named Columbine High School’s Andy Lowry and Muskegon High School’s Shane Fairfield as the AFC and NFC recipients of the 2023 NFL DON SHULA High School Coach of the Year Award.

The league recognized the top high school coaches from markets of NFL teams as nominated by their respective NFL clubs. This honor is given to the high school football coaches that best represent character, integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to player protection and on-field success, in honor of the late Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history.

Lowry, of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., was nominated by the Denver Broncos. Columbine just won its third state title under Coach Lowry, completing a 14-0 season. In his 30th season as head coach at Columbine, Lowry earned his 300th career victory in September 2023.

Fairfield, from Muskegon High School in Muskegon, Mich., was nominated by the Detroit Lions to represent the NFC. Fairfield defeated two-time defending state champion Warren De La Salle High School, 33-21, to win the MHSAA Division II state championship. Muskegon is the all-time winningest football program in Michigan.

“We are honored to celebrate Coach Lowry and Coach Fairfield and their incredible dedication and hard work to the game of football,” said Alexia Gallagher, NFL vice president of philanthropy and executive director of the NFL Foundation. “Both exemplify the vital role that high school football coaches play in positively shaping the lives and character of their players both on and off the field.” 

Fairfield and Lowry were chosen from a list of 32 nominees, one nominated by each NFL team:
Nominating NFL Team Coach High School
Arizona Cardinals Colin Thomas Liberty High School
Atlanta Falcons Keith Maloof Norcross High School
Baltimore Ravens Kurt Stein Oakdale High School
Buffalo Bills Terrell Cunningham James Monroe High School
Carolina Panthers Aaron Brand Irmo High School
Chicago Bears Derek Leonard Rochester High School
Cincinnati Bengals Tom Grippa Milford High School
Cleveland Browns Matt Dennison Canton South High School
Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten Liberty Christian School
Denver Broncos Andy Lowry Columbine High School
Detroit Lions Shane Fairfield Muskegon High School
Green Bay Packers Matt Hensler Badger High School
Houston Texans Cornelius Anthony Hightower High School
Indianapolis Colts Larry "Bud" Wright Sheridan High School
Jacksonville Jaguars Brian Braddock St. Augustine High School
Kansas City Chiefs Jesse Owen Gardner Edgerton High School
Las Vegas Raiders Chris Sawyers Sunrise Mountain High School
Los Angeles Chargers Scott Altenberg Junipero Serra High School
Los Angeles Rams Demel Franklin Cerritos High School
Miami Dolphins Daryle Heidelburg Miami Norland Senior High School
Minnesota Vikings Mike Diggins Centennial High School
New England Patriots Allan Fornaro Xaverian Brothers High School
New York Giants Nick Aiello Tioga Central High School
New York Jets Danny Landberg Erasmus Hall High School
New Orleans Saints Jim Hightower St. Thomas More Catholic High School
Philadelphia Eagles Tim Roken St. Joseph's Preparatory School
Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Warfield Aliquippa High School
*San Francisco 49ers Nelson Tran Independence High School
Seattle Seahawks Travis Anderson Anacortes High School
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Clayton Varnum Durant High School
Tennessee Titans Tony Brunetti Pearl Cohn High School
Washington Commanders Bradley Lutz William Byrd High School

The NFL Foundation, in partnership with Nike, will award Lowry and Fairfield — as the 2023 Don Shula NFL High School Coaches of the Year — with $15,000 grants for each of their high school football programs. Additionally, each coach will receive a $10,000 cash prize. They will both be guests of the NFL at the 2024 Pro Bowl Games in Orlando, will attend Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas and will be recognized at NFL Honors.

Read the coaches' reactions and more about the award here.