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Washington Commanders name Brad Lutz as the team's nominee for the 2023 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award

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LANDOVER, Md., January 4, 2024 – The Washington Commanders have announced Coach Brad Lutz as the team's nominee for the 2023 Don Shula High School Coach of the Year Award. The league-wide award recognizes high school football coaches who display the integrity, achievement, and leadership qualities exemplified by Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history.

Coach Lutz has been the head coach of William Byrd High School's football program for five years, where he led the Terriers to a 12-1 record in 2023 and oversaw a district championship and the first regional championship in school history. Coach Lutz's impact on William Byrd's football program is evidenced by the team record and increased participation over the past five years.

Coach Lutz has a deep respect for the values of the military, which are incorporated into the football program. Several coaches are veterans and the team operates an accountability system modeled after a platoon in the military. At the beginning of each summer, the team creates summer platoons named and modeled after those of our service branches. Each week, players can earn points for their platoon by attending workouts and winning competitive drills and competitions. Coach Lutz believes this system brings the team closer together and helps identify players with leadership qualities.

Coach Lutz has brought a soldier tributes tradition to each program he has worked with in his tenure as a football coach. In September 2004, Coach Lutz lost one of his close friends and high school teammate who was killed by an IED while serving in Iraq. He continues to share the story of his friend's commitment to his teammates on the field and his sacrifice to his country. Understanding the loss that a local community faces in these instances, Coach Lutz learned that the William Byrd community had also lost a football alumnus in combat. This tradition, which emphasizes sacrifice and comradery, contributes to how Coach Lutz builds a strong foundation that includes selfless service and respect within the football program. Each week, the team plays in honor of a solider who lost their life in the line of duty, and the team continues to wear special game uniforms honoring the different branches of our military, with 2023's season being inspired by the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC.

Coach Lutz firmly believes that football is the greatest sport in the world, with benefits for participants that continue throughout one's life. Off the field, Coach Lutz is a special education teacher and works with many students with physical and/or learning disabilities. Many of his students love sports but have physical limitations preventing them from competitive play. As a result, he encourages these students to join the program as student managers, providing them with an opportunity to be a part of the team and experience the thrill of football. The players have embraced these students and recognize everyone as key members of the team.

"We at William Byrd High School have long known how great of a coach and leader Brad Lutz is, and we're proud that he's now being recognized by the Washington Commanders and the NFL for his accomplishments," said William Byrd Athletic Director Jason Taylor. "Coach Lutz recognizes the value football brings to players, other students, and the community as a whole. He also emphasizes the importance of academics to his players, as evidenced by the team's collective 3.2 GPA."

The High School Coach of the Week Program, sponsored by Clark Construction, is an NFL initiative that aims to highlight local high school football coaches who consistently demonstrate a dedication to their programs, their players' health and safety, and to making a difference in their community. As a nominee, Coach Lutz will receive a $2,000 personal award and an additional $2,000 for his high school football program.

An expert panel will review each NFL clubs' nominees and select an award winner from each conference. The winners will be announced by the NFL in the coming days and will receive an all-expenses paid trip to both the 2024 Pro Bowl Games in Orlando, Florida and Super Bowl in Las Vegas. In addition, the winners will each receive $15,000 each for their school's football programs and a $10,000 personal award.

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