Pine-Richland football coach Jon LeDonne among 32 nominees for NFL’s Don Shula Award

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Friday, January 13, 2023 | 2:58 PM


Pine-Richland football coach Jon LeDonne, who led the Rams to a state title this season, was one of 32 coaches nationwide nominated for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award.

The NFL announced the full list Thursday.

Each NFL franchise nominated one high school coach from its area. This year, for the first time, two winners will be selected, one each from the AFC and NFC. The winners are invited to Pro Bowl week in early February.

LeDonne led Pine-Richland to WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A titles in his first year with the Rams. The team started the season 1-3 before winning 12 games in a row. They defeated Upper St. Clair, 34-3, in the WPIAL finals, and three weeks later topped Philadelphia’s Imhotep Charter, 28-14, in the state finals.

LeDonne was announced as the Steelers’ high school coach of the year in mid-December, putting him in the running for the national award.

This year’s two winners will receive $15,000 donated to their football programs and a $10,000 cash award, according to the NFL announcement. They’re invited to Las Vegas for Pro Bowl festivities, will be recognized during the NFL’s televised awards special Feb. 9 and can attend Super Bowl LVII in Arizona on Feb. 12.

All 32 nominees receive $1,000.

The NFL said the coaches are judged on “character, integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to player health and safety and on-field success.” The award is named after the late Don Shula, who earned Pro Football Hall of Fame induction as coach of the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins from 1963-92.

Bob Palko at Mt. Lebanon won the Shula Award last season, becoming the second Pennsylvania coach to win the award. The other was former St. Joseph’s Prep coach Gabe Infante in 2018 as a Philadelphia Eagles nominee.

The award started in 2010.

The two winners are selected by a nine-person panel that includes former NFL coach Dave Shula, son of the award’s namesake. Among others on the selection panel are hall of fame members Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy.

“High school football coaches serve as leaders and role models dedicated to shaping the lives of young high school players both on and off the field, and this group represents the very best from across the country every year,” Roman Oben, NFL vice president of football development, said in a statement.

2022 Don Shula Award nominees

NFL team, Coach, High school

Arizona, Chris McDonald, Basha

Atlanta, Tony Lotti, Apalachee

Baltimore, Kyle Schmitt, Archbishop Spalding

Buffalo, Steve McDuffie, Bennett

Carolina, Jimmy Teague, Reidsville

Chicago, Ken Leonard, Sacred Heart-Griffin

Cincinnati, Andre Parker, Princeton

Cleveland, Chuck Kyle, St. Ignatius

Dallas, Chad Cole, Reedy

Denver, Blair Hubbard, Broomfield

Detroit, Tyrone Spencer, Martin Luther King Jr.

Green Bay, Andrew Selgrad, Columbus

Houston, Wade Miller, Uvalde

Indianapolis, Eric Moore, Center Grove

Jacksonville, Robert Shields, Baldwin

Kansas City, Bryan DeLong, Center

Las Vegas, Brent Lewis, Moapa Valley

L.A. Chargers, Joe Torres, King/Drew Magnet

L.A. Rams, Stephen Barbee, Long Beach Poly

Miami, Jube Joseph, Miami Central

Minnesota, Chris Mensen, Simley

New England, John Rafferty, Wakefield Memorial

New Orleans, Marcus Scott, Destrehan

N.Y. Giants, Matt Gallagher, Maine-Endwell

N.Y. Jets, Clive Harding, Boys and Girls

Philadelphia, Mike St. Clair, Bayard Rustin

Pittsburgh, Jon LeDonne, Pine-Richland

San Francisco, Phil Ferrigno, Abraham Lincoln

Seattle, Jason Ronquillo, Yelm

Tampa Bay, Mark Buchanan, Indian Rocks Christian

Tennessee, Lamar Brown, West

Washington, Larry Choates, John R. Lewis

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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