FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Chelsea High School's James Atkins has been named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week in recognition of his many contributions to the Chelsea community, both as the supervisor for the gang unit at the Chelsea Police Department and as the city's high school football coach.
Atkins was hired as the head football coach at Chelsea High prior to the 2004 season after working with troubled youth in Chelsea for years. Since then, he has used his position in the Chelsea community to encourage participation in high school football. The team has gone a combined 15-6 over the past two seasons after not being able to field a varsity team in 2003. In addition, Atkins has pushed his players to concentrate on schoolwork and grades, seeing that more players get their high school diplomas and receive college scholarships.
This season marks the 10th year in which the Patriots have joined the National Football League in conducting the High School Coach of the Week program, which recognizes outstanding high school coaches and promotes youth football throughout New England.
Patriots Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, who is now the team's football development and promotions director, oversees the program as part of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation's commitment to youth football initiatives. Each week, Tippett, along with WCVB Channel 5 sports anchor Mike Lynch, will honor the selected coach on the team's weekly magazine show, Patriots All Access. The broadcast airs Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. and Sundays at 10:00 a.m. on WCVB and is followed on Sunday mornings by Totally Patriots, a new youth-oriented football show, at 11:00 a.m.
"Coach Atkins has gone above and beyond his duties as a football coach," Tippett said. "He is involved in every aspect of his players' lives. Winning games in the football field is great, but he has shown these players how to win at life. He is a remarkable example of dedication and we congratulate Coach Atkins, his staff and his players for their great achievements."
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will donate $1,000 to Chelsea High School's football program in Atkins' name in recognition of his selection as Coach of the Week. At the conclusion of the season, one of the previous weekly honorees will be named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Year, and will receive a $2,000 contribution to go toward the school's football program.
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, Inc. is the non-profit organization through which the Patriots support charitable and philanthropic organizations throughout New England. This support comes in the form of both direct grants and in-kind donations, and through player appearances at a number of charity functions and educational programs. The foundation assists a variety of charitable organizations and programs throughout New England by supporting their educational, family and health initiatives.