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

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 recognizes the top high school coaches 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 Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history.

Lowry, of Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, was nominated by the Denver Broncos. Columbine is one of the most respected programs in all of Colorado and has been a perennial powerhouse at the 5A level. 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.

“The Don Shula Coach of the Year award is a huge honor, and I am very humbled by this opportunity,” said Lowry. “I feel like a kid at Christmas waiting for the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl. I am thankful to the NFL and Nike and will soak it all in and share this experience with my team. I am very blessed to receive this award.”

Fairfield, from Muskegon High School in Muskegon, MI, 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. This win was the 900th victory in Muskegon football history. The program owns a .749 all-time winning percentage (900-287-43), dating back to 1895. Muskegon is the all-time winningest football program in Michigan.

“Coaching is a blessing that allows me to have the ability and opportunity to inspire young people through the game of football that I grew up loving. It truly is a dream job,” said Fairfield. “These young men come to me with different backgrounds and personalities but to get them to play united as a whole every snap for an entire game week after week is very rewarding. I enjoy being a mentor that young people can count on. Football was a father for me and taught me lessons that a dad is supposed to teach you. These are lessons and skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives.”

“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.” 

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.


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