FLEMING ISLAND - Fleming Island High head football coach Damenyum Springs was honored at the NFL’s Pro Bowl recently in Orlando with his nomination as a Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year designation.
“I appreciated that the kids on this team were all a good bunch of boys and gave praise to each other as the season went on,” said Springs. “It’s their award as much as mine.”
Springs, who orchestrated a region finals playoff run for the Golden Eagles on top of an unbeaten 9-0 regular season record, joined a list of high school coaches from around the United States in NFL team cities as nominees for the prestigious award.
The coaches were recognized by their local NFL club, the Jacksonville Jaguars for Springs, for the prestigious award — named after Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history — for their character, integrity, leadership, dedication to the community, commitment to player protection and on-field success.
All Don Shula Award nominees were invited to attend the 2020 Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla. and were recognized during the NFL’s week-long celebration of football.
“I got to meet and see a lot of the NFL’s best guys out there,” said Springs. “The most impressive was Tremaine Edmunds, a 6’-5”, 250 pound linebacker for the Buffalo Bills. He was huge. I thought our Ryan Smenda (at Wake Forest) was big, but this guy towered over me.”
One player Springs did get to meet was Jacksonville Jaguar All Pro defensive end Calais Campbell, who was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year for his outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. Calais was the 2020 Pro Bowl defensive MVP.
Coaches had have VIP access and accommodations at events including Pro Bowl practices and the Play Football High School Skills Showdown, a chance to interact with members of the football community and attend the Pro Bowl.
Matt Land, head coach at Dalton High School, of Dalton, GA., was selected as the 2019 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year winning a $15,000 award from the NFL Foundation to which $10,000 is designated the school’s program.
The runnerup was Lambert Brown of Wayzata High School in Plymouth, MN., who also received the $15,000 Foundation money.
Both were guests at the Super Bowl in Miami.