Ray Seals, head coach at Madison High, has been chosen the 2008 National Football League High School Coach of the Year. Two of his former players, Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans and Moran Norris of the Detroit Lions, nominated Seals for the award.
In his essay, Norris called Seals "a great inspiration" and wrote, "Even though I grew up with two parents, he was like another father. He always guided me right, and it wasn't always about football. He wants you to be successful in life."
Seals tells Hair Balls he stresses the importance of character development, integrity and keeping your word.
"We tried to do the best we could for them and instill some morals and values in them," Seals said. "It's not all about how many games you win or lose. It's about how many kids you can make successful."
During his 44-year tenure as a football coach, 198 of Seals' players have been awarded scholarships and eight played professionally. Norris and Young continue to enjoy success (keep your carping to yourselves, all you VY-bashers), as did Broderick Thomas, Jerel Myers and Tim Bruton.
Every year since 1995, the NFL recognizes one high-school football coach whose dedication and leadership shaped the athletic and personal achievements of NFL players. Players submit essays from which a sports committee then makes its selection. This year, Seals was selected from more than 60 essay nominations. He was among the five finalists for the NFL coach of the year in 2004 and was named HISD coach of the year 10 times. His commitment to the kids is more than evident.
"I try to teach my players more than football; it's about life," he says. "It (football) teaches you how to make decisions."
He will receive a $5,000 check, a $10,000 grant to be awarded to the Madison High School football program and two tickets to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Seals said the $10,000 was much needed and will be used to bring the weight room up to par and make repairs. As far as this weekend's big game, Seals has yet to choose a guest or a winner.
"It really doesn't matter (who wins). I just really want to see a good game," he says.
-- Amina Rivera
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