NFHS Announces 2019-20 Coach of the Year Winners

January 27, 2021 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Twenty-three high school coaches from across the country have been selected as 2020 National Coaches of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association. 

nfhsThe NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers), and in two “other” sports — one for boys and one for girls – that are not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their awards. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 201920 school year. 

Recipients of this year’s national awards for boys sports are:

  • Ron Murphy, baseball, Rio Rancho  (New MexicoHigh School 
  • Jerry Petitgoue, basketball, Cuba City (WisconsinHigh School
  • Kevin Ryan, cross-country, Bellingham (WashingtonSehome High School
  • Gerry Pannoni, football, Lorton (Virginia) South County High School 
  • Steve Kanner, golf, Chandler (ArizonaHamilton High School
  • David Halligan, soccer, Falmouth (Maine) High School
  • Douglas Krecklow, swimming and diving, Omaha (NebraskaWestside High School
  • Douglas Chapman, tennis, Somerset (Massachusetts) Berkley Regional High School 
  • Robert Palazzo, track and field, Providence (Rhode Island) Classical High School
  • Douglas Hislop, wrestling, Imbler (Oregon) High School  

The recipients of the 2020 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: 

  • Michael Rose, swimming and diving, Brookfield (Wisconsin) East High School 
  • Judith Hehs, tennis, Wixom (MichiganSt. Catherine of Siena Academy 
  • Willie Smith, track and field, Beachwood (Ohio) High School
  • Kevin Bordewick, volleyball, Topeka (KansasWashburn Rural High School
  • Donna Moir, basketball, Louisville (KentuckySacred Heart Academy
  • William Clifton, cross country, Middletown (New JerseySouth High School 
  • Carol Fromuth, golf, St. Louis (MissouriSt. Joseph’s Academy
  • Tim Carey, lacrosse, Fresno (CaliforniaHoover High School
  • Stephen Estelle, soccer, Huntington (MassachusettsGateway Regional High School
  • Mary Truesdale, softball, Sacramento (CaliforniaSheldon High School

The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Anne Ellett of Gresham (OregonCentennial High School. Michael Bowler, a lacrosse coach at Rocky Point (New YorkHigh School, was chosen in the “other” category for boys sports, and Mary Beth Bourgoin, a field hockey coach at Winslow (Maine) High School, was chosen in the “other” category for girls sports. 

The NFHS has a contact in each state who is responsible for selecting deserving coach award recipients. This person often works with the state coaches’ association in his or her respective state. He or she contacts the potential state award recipients to complete a coach profile form that requests information regarding the coach’s record, membership in and affiliation with coaching and other professional organizations, involvement with other school and community activities and programs, and coaching philosophy. To be approved as an award recipient and considered for sectional and national coach of the year consideration, this profile form must be completed by the coach or designee and then approved by the executive director (or designee) of the state athletic/activities association. 

The next award level after state coach of the year is sectional coach of the year. The NFHS is divided into eight geographical sections. They are as follows:

  • Section 1 – Northeast (CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT)
  • Section 2 – Mideast (DE, DC, KY, MD, OH, PA, VA, WV)
  • Section 3 – South (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN)
  • Section 4 – Central (IL, IN, IA, MI, WI)
  • Section 5 – Midwest (KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD)
  • Section 6 – Southwest (AR, CO, NM, OK, TX)
  • Section 7 – West (AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT)
  • Section 8 – Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY) 

The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory committee composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives. The sectional committee representatives evaluate the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and select the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category. The NFHS Coaches Association Advisory Committee then considers the sectional candidates in each sport, ranks them according to a point system, and determines a national winner for each of the 20 sport categories, the spirit category, and two “other” categories 

A total of 707 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional, and national awards.