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Dana Olson of Millis High School is Patriots nominee for Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award

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For his character, integrity and leadership as well as his commitment to the community, player health and safety, and on-field success, Millis High School's Dana Olson was selected as the New England Patriots nominee for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award, it was announced today. Representing the best at the high school level after receiving the Patriots Coach of the Year honor at the conclusion of the 2016 season, Olson was nominated for the national award, named for Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history.

Olson led the Millis-Hopedale Mohawks to the co-operative program's first-ever state title this season, demonstrating exactly what can come from hard work, dedication and collaboration. The 2016 season marked Olson's third season as head coach of the co-op team, which is comprised of students from Millis and Hopedale High Schools. Assisted by his twin brother, Dale, Olson has led Millis-Hopedale to three consecutive Tri-Valley League Small titles. 

"The Millis-Hopedale football team showcased outstanding teamwork throughout the course of this season, ending in a well-deserved Super Bowl Championship," said Andre Tippett, Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker, now the team's Executive Director of Community Affairs. "While we were thrilled to recognize Coach Olson for his remarkable year of success with our team award, he could not be more deserving of this national honor as well."

Olson will be invited and recognized in special ways during the NFL's week-long celebration of football at the 2017 Pro Bowl in Orlando. Olson will visit Pro Bowl practices, participate in the USA Football National Conference and attend the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium. 

Two finalists will each receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 of which will go to his high school's football program. The Shula Award winner will be announced during the third quarter of the 2017 Pro Bowl, airing Sunday, Jan. 29 at 8 PM ET on ESPN, and will receive an additional $10,000 from the NFL Foundation, $5,000 of which will go to his high school's football program. The winner will be recognized at a press conference on Friday, Feb. 3 during Super Bowl week in Houston and walk the red carpet at NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special airing nationally on FOX on Feb. 4, the night before Super Bowl LI.

The winner is selected by a panel of distinguished individuals. New to the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award selection panel this year are two-time Super Bowl champion (XLI, 50) and five-time NFL MVP PEYTON MANNING, Super Bowl XLII champion and Good Morning America contributor MICHAEL STRAHAN and Pro Football Hall of Fame President DAVID BAKER

The selection panel also includes:

  • Coach DON SHULA – the winningest coach in NFL history
  • Former Dallas Cowboys Personnel Director and NFL.com contributor GIL BRANDT
  • 2015 Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award Winner MICHAEL BURNETT
  • Former Indianapolis Colts Coach and current NBC analyst** ONY DUNGY *
  • Executive Director of USA Football SCOTT HALLENBECK
  • Retired IBM CEO *SAMUEL PALMISANO *
  • Former Secretary of State, Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution and faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business CONDOLEEZZA RICE 
  • Former Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association *GRANT TEAFF *
  • Aplington-Parkersburg High School Principal and son of the school's late football coach, Ed Thomas, AARON THOMAS
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