Miami, FL – The Miami Dolphins and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) today announced the winners of the end of the year youth programs awards, including the high school coach of the year, high school player of the year and team mom of the year. The award recipients demonstrated their commitment to being leaders both on and off the field this season.
Each award recipient was presented with a plaque on the field during the Dec. 11 Dolphins home game at Hard Rock Stadium against the New England Patriots, and received acknowledgement of their accomplishment through the Dolphins' and RISE's social media platforms. They also received tickets to a Miami Dolphins home game, access to the Dolphins/RISE pregame tailgate and a Dolphins/RISE T-shirt.
• High School Coach of the Year: Pat Surtain from American Heritage High School. The Patriots (13-0) have now won 27 consecutive games after defeating Baker County 44-15 in the 5A state championship final in Orlando. This is the second-straight state championship for Surtain, a former Dolphins player, and the Patriots and the school's fourth in five years.
Surtain is now a nominee for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award, which honors high school football coaches that demonstrate the integrity, achievement, and leadership exemplified by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula. As a nominee, Suratin will be invited to Orlando for the USA Football National Conference and Pro Bowl during Pro Bowl week, January, 2018. Two finalists for the Shula Coach of the Year Award will be invited to attend the 2018 Pro Bowl in Orlando, and included in the week's festivities leading up to the game, where the winner will be announced. Each finalist also will be invited to attend Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, MN the following week, where the winner will take part in the traditional Don Shula events and the runner up will be able to experience the Super Bowl first hand. The Don Shula Award winner receives $10,000 and his High School football program is awarded $15,000. The second finalist will receive $5,000 and his High School football program will receive $10,000.
"It is a great honor to be mentioned in the same breath as all the great high school coaches that have come before me," Surtain said. "A lot of hard work goes into coaching. This award is not an individual award. My coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for helping me get here. I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award".
• High School Player of the Year: Chatarius (Tutu) Atwell Jr. from Miami Northwestern High School. Atwell lead the Bulls (12-2) to a 21-16 win over Seffner Armwood in the 6A state championship final in Orlando. The senior quarterback accounted for 259 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. It was the Bulls' first state championship victory in over a decade. Atwell is committed to play at the University of Louisville in the fall.
• Team Mom of the Year: Natacha Horta from the Miami Gardens Vikings 13U of the Florida Youth Football League. She is a single mother of five and is one of the best team moms in the Miami Gardens Vikings park. Horta goes above and beyond for her 13U team. She has been known to sacrifice the money she has to pay bills to make sure that every player on her team has whatever they need for game days. Horta is the most selfless person in the park and without a doubt she is the Miami Gardens Vikings most valuable team mom.