KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs have announced the final recipients of the Missouri and Kansas High School Coach of the Week awards for 2012. Pembroke Hill’s Sam Knopik (Missouri) and Olathe North’s Gene Wier (Kansas) received the honor after strong performances by their respective teams last week.
As a result, both schools will receive a $500 grant towards player health and safety equipment and/or education. Additionally, Knopik and Wier will be presented with congratulatory footballs autographed by Chiefs Head Coach Romeo Crennel and a certificate recognizing their selection in addition to a special edition Chiefs Coach of the Week hat. Each coach is now a finalist for their respective state’s Chiefs High School Coach of the Year Award, which will be announced at the conclusion of the regular season.
Knopik receives the award following a 28-0 shutout of Clinton in the first round of Missouri’s Class 3 playoffs. That victory not only advanced the Raiders championship hopes, but helped erase the memory of a tightly-played, early season defeat to the same Cardinals team. In his 10th year at the helm of Pembroke Hill, Knopik has guided the Raiders to the playoffs on five occasions. No stranger to this award, Knopik took home 2011 Chiefs Coach of the Week accolades before later being named the Chiefs Missouri Coach of the Year. Celebrating its 100th year of football, Pembroke Hill is now ranked No. 24 in the latest Metro Sports Super 25 poll. Knopik will be in search of his 62nd career victory at the school this Wednesday as Pembroke Hill meets a talented Oak Grove squad, who enters the contest ranked No. 9 in the latest Super 25 poll.
Wier earned the award after his Olathe North squad tallied a 21-14 upset over Olathe South last week. The victory clinched a berth in the Kansas Class 6A playoff bracket for Wier’s squad. After leaving to coach in Texas for nine years, Wier is back in charge of the Eagles program he previously led to prominence. He originally took over for local coaching legend, Bud Wheeler, when Olathe High School became Olathe North in 1981. During the next 22 seasons, Wier coached the Eagles to a 188-36 record. In that time, the Eagles finished atop the state’s largest classification six times in seven seasons, including three straight titles from 1996-98 and again from 2000-02. He’ll hope to build on that success when Olathe North opens the playoffs at Free State, who is ranked No. 6 in the latest Metro Sports Super 25 Poll.
The 2012 High School Coach of the Week program is a joint initiative of the Kansas City Chiefs and the National Football League. The program 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.
Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame linebacker and current Director of Special Events Gary Spani will be on hand for a special presentation to honor the recipients at their respective schools.
Those named as High School Coach of the Week this season automatically become finalists for the 2012 Chiefs High School Coach of the Year awards. A panel of their peers will select the Coach of the Year for both Missouri and Kansas. Those individuals will be honored later this season by members of the Chiefs Community Caring Team.
Each state’s winner is selected in collaboration with Time Warner Cable’s Metro Sports. Time Warner Cable is the official video provider of the Chiefs.