Owatonna Coach Up For National Award
Owatonna High School football coach Jeff Williams will be in Florida for the Pro Bowl this weekend and is among 32 finalists for a national award. He seemed most pleased about the chance to enjoy some warmer weather when he talked about the trip earlier this month, "I really like warm weather and I'm going to find any opportunity I can to get warm weather."
This warm weather trip is due to the Minnesota Vikings nominating Williams for the Don Shula Award, which will be presented Sunday during the Pro Bowl. Williams is looking forward to the event and appreciates the recognition, but says, "I try not to get hung up on coaching awards because they're usually given by people who have never seen us play, never come to a practice to see how we operate."
"You get those awards by winning football games. And you win football games by having kids who can play the game." Owatonna has won back-to-back state Class 5A titles in 2017 and 2018 and were semifinalists in 2016. OHS also won a title in 2013 after finishing as the state runner-up in 2012.
After the initial presentation by a Vikings' representative in November, Williams said, "I think that it's a reflection on the whole staff that we've got. What a great bunch of coaches that we have."
A news release states, "This prestigious award recognizes these coaches for their character and integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to players health and safety and on-field success."
Two finalists will receive a $10,000 donation for their school from the NFL Foundation and will attend the Super Bowl in Atlanta February 3. The winner will have a few other perks as well. Among the panel members who decide the recipient are namesake Don Shula, Pro Football Hall of Fame coach and former Gopher Tony Dungy and former Super Bowl champion Rod Woodson.
Owatonna senior Jake Miller is accompanying Williams to Florida where he will compete in a skills competition, "see where he stacks up with the best players in the country. That will be a neat experience" said Williams. Miller was an All-District member of the state champion Huskies' defensive secondary, covering the best receivers on the opposing team according to Williams.