“” and you start to get noticed—by an NFL Hall of Famer and an elite pro football franchise.
Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, the team’s executive director of community affairs, visited football coach Greg Burke and his team Tuesday afternoon at SHS to present Burke with this week’s New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week award.
The honor is in recognition of Stoughton upsetting defending Division 2 Super Bowl Champion Mansfield last Friday, Sept. 24 on the road. Burke , snapping Mansfield’s 14-game winning streak.
It was the first win for Stoughton over Mansfield since 2000. Stoughton is now 2-1 this season.
“Stoughton’s stifling defense, two field goals and a safety powered the Black Knights through a rain-soaked game,” the New England Patriots said in a press release.
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation will donate $1,000 to Stoughton High School’s football program in Burke’s name for his Coach of the Week selection.
The New England Patriots had a film crew at the high school on Tuesday for the brief ceremony in the SHS gymnasium. Burke received his award, standing alongside Tippett, with the Black Knights’ team, dressed in their home jerseys, sitting in the bleachers behind their coach and the Hall of Fame linebacker.
The visit and check presentation will be featured on the team’s weekly television magazine show, Patriots All Access, which airs at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30 on WBZ-TV in Boston and later on Patriots.com.
“On behalf of the Stoughton Black Knights and the administration, [Superintendent of Schools] Dr. Rizzi…all the coaches, certainly all the players, I want to thank the Patriot organization for this award,” Burke said during the ceremony.
“This is great for our town. These kids do all the work; they just sort of let me hang around.”
Athletic Director Ryan Donahue said an honor like this is “validating.”
“It’s a complete honor to be recognized for the hard work put in for the last six months. These kids just work so hard,” he said.
This season marks the 16th 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, according to a press release from the Patriots. Tippett oversees the program as part of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s commitment to youth football initiatives.
The weekly award honors coaches following significant victories or after achieving career milestones.
“We’re happy to present this week’s Coach of the Week Award to Coach Burke,” Tippett said in press release from the Patriots.
“Facing Mansfield in the pouring rain last Friday, Coach Burke’s team showed impressive focus and the ability to persevere and ultimately emerge with a win. It was a true test for the defense, which obviously played a major role in Stoughton’s 8-0 win over Mansfield.”
In a follow-up interview with Stoughton Patch, Tippett said last Friday’s win over the Hornets was an “unbelievable accomplishment.”
“I know where Stoughton is trying to get to and where Mansfield has been,” he said. “The game wasn’t won by luck. [We] couldn’t help but want to honor them.”
Various school administrators and assistant coaches watched the ceremony. After Burke received his award, some of the team’s seniors showed Tippett the school’s new state-of-the-art weight training facility. He spent some time signing autographs for the student-athletes.
“Andre [Tippett], Hall-of-Famer, does it get any better than this?” Burke said after receiving the award.
When the television cameras turned off, Tippett, a Sharon resident, told the Black Knights to “go easy on the Sharon Eagles” this Saturday.
At the conclusion of the season, one high school coach will be named the New England Patriots High School Coach of the Year and will receive an additional $2,000 contribution toward the school’s football program.
In previous years, Tippett has invited the Coach of the Week and senior captains for a visit to Gillette Stadium, but decided to take the award on the road in 2011 so he could visit the schools that benefit from the program.
This year is also the first year the Patriots will accept nominations for High School Coach of the Week. Anyone who knows a high school football coach in New England who has a great week or reaches a personal career milestone is encouraged to submit a nomination at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation is the non-profit through which the Patriots support charitable and philanthropic organizations throughout New England. This support comes in the form of direct grants, in-kind donations and player appearances. The foundation assists a variety of charitable organizations and programs throughout New England by supporting their educational, family and health initiatives. For more information, visit www.patriots.com/community.
Information from a New England Patriots press release was used in this article.