You can smooze ‘em. You can tell ‘em they’re the greatest. You can use the big headlines when they win, and still they’d rather take their son to the Super Bowl.
My recruiting campaign to be Royal football coach Wiley Allred’s wingman at Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis came up short in the voting process. Wiley ended up taking his boy Dexter to what turned out to be one of the best Super Bowls in recent times.
But hey, give it up for Wiley Allred of Royal High School. Wiley was named the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award national runner-up.
That’s big-time stuff for a guy from the Royal Slope.
Don Shula Award nominees from all 32 NFL teams got to participate in the NFL's week-long celebration at the 2018 Pro Bowl in Orlando, taking in a special coaches' clinic to go along with a VIP visit to Pro Bowl practices and attend the USA Football National Conference.
Los Angeles Chargers nominee Robert Garrett from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles was named the national high school coach of the year. Allred was the runner-up. The honor punched their ticket to the Super Bowl on the following week.
“It’s an honor for not just me, but the kids and the community,” said Allred (217-26), whose team has the sixth longest winning streak (41) in the nation. “I’m grateful for the chance to go to Orlando and the exposure to all the great coaches. I got to go to a great clinic by Mike Singletary. It was pretty impressive.”
The coaches were nominated by their state coaches associations, but the winner and runner-up were selected by a who’s who from around the NFL. I won’t bore you with all of them, but when guys like Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history; Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker; former Indianapolis Colts Hall of Fame coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy; Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning and Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest, who was a part of three Super Bowl championships, are making the call that says a lot.
“I was more interested in telling them about our kids and our community, but I didn’t get a chance to do that as much as I would have liked,” said Allred, who passed longtime coach Frank Naish for the 15th all-time winning percentage (89.3) among Washington state coaches with 200-plus victories.
“But it was nice to be in the conversation with a program (Crenshaw High School) that has six or seven D-I players on the roster and sent a few on to the NFL.”
It was a chance to kick it around with some of the greatest high school football minds in the nation, see the Pro Bowl and all its hoopla up close and personal. And, if that’s not enough, it was a chance to go the Super Bowl with his boy.
Not bad for a guy whose defensive coordinator calls him an Old Goat on Twitter.
Rodney Harwood is a sports writer for the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org