KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs have announced the recipients of the 2012 Missouri and Kansas High School Coach of the Year awards. Platte County’s Bill Utz (Missouri) and Shawnee Mission West’s Tim Callaghan (Kansas) each received this honor after strong performances by their respective teams all year long.
As a result of this accolade, Utz and Callaghan will each be presented with their official trophies and a certificate recognizing their selection at a ceremony this Sunday, Dec. 2 at Arrowhead Stadium before the Chiefs take on the Carolina Panthers. Additionally, both schools will receive a grant of more than $2,000 earmarked for player health and safety equipment and/or education.
Coach Utz receives the award following a memorable 2012 campaign. Platte County finished 10-3 on the year, a record that led to a berth in the Class 4 playoffs. Their postseason campaign was highlighted by an improbable comeback victory against Smithville, which saw Platte County score 20 unanswered points and earn a 27-21 victory. Though the Pirates’ playoff run came to a conclusion in the state quarterfinals against Harrisonville, it was still a season to remember. Platte County provided a unique and exciting brand of football, including a mixture of a pass-heavy offense and a turnover-creating defense. Coach Utz and his Pirates also finished atop the Suburban Blue division and were ranked No. 13 in the Metro Sports Super 25 Poll.
Coach Callaghan earns the award following a stellar 12-1 season that culminated with a 6A Kansas State Championship. Callaghan and his Shawnee Mission West team overcame obstacles all season long to reach the title game. However, the biggest hurdle presented itself in the championship game. The Vikings faced off against a powerhouse Hutchinson squad that had won six of the previous seven Kansas 6A State Championships. Coach Callaghan maintained his team’s focus, and thanks to a brilliant offensive game plan that led to nearly 300 rushing yards, Shawnee Mission West tallied a 19-14 victory and went home with their first state title since 1985. Along with their postseason success, Shawnee Mission West finished No. 3 in the Metro Sports Super 25 Poll.
The 2012 High School Coach of the Year program is a joint initiative of the Kansas City Chiefs and the National Football League. It is designed to recognize and reward Kansas City area high school coaches who have created successful programs for teams and players both on and off of the playing field. This includes coaches that champion philosophies which advance and promote player health and safety.
The finalists for the Chiefs Coach of the Year award and voting panel, which selected the winners represent the 16 individuals – eight apiece from Missouri and Kansas – named as Chiefs High School Coaches of the Week this season. Throughout the fall, the Chiefs recognized a different coach on each side of the state line that set a benchmark among his profession. As a result, the winning coaches received a $500 health and safety grant for their schools, a football autographed by Chiefs Head Coach Romeo Crennel, a limited-edition “Chiefs Coach of the Week” hat and a certificate of recognition.
Each state’s weekly winners were selected in collaboration with Time Warner Cable, the official video provider of the Chiefs. The winners were honored at their practice each week by Chiefs Hall of Fame LB Gary Spani, who currently serves as the team’s Director of Special Events. Utz received Chiefs Coach of the Week accolades in Week 3 while Callaghan was recognized in Week 7.
The 2011 winners of the Chiefs High School Coach of the Year awards were Pembroke Hill’s Sam Knopik (Missouri) and Blue Valley’s Eric Driskell (Kansas).