Steve Specht. (Photo courtesy Mark D. Motz/St. Xavier high School)
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St. Xavier head coach Steve Specht wins National High School Coach of the Year

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CINCINNATI - The head coach of St. Xavier's high school football team has been named the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year, the NFL announced Friday.

Coach Steve Specht will receive $25,000, of which $15,000 will go to the St. Xavier football program, as a result of winning the award.

Specht is a guest of the NFL this week at the Super Bowl, and he was congratulated by Shula Friday at a news conference in New Orleans.

Specht is a former winner of the Paul Brown Excellence in Coaching award in 2005, presented annually by the Bengals to an outstanding high school football coach in the Cincinnati region. 

Specht was among 45 original nominees for the Shula Award.

"The Bengals offer Steve our most enthusiastic congratulations on this national honor," said Bengals president Mike Brown. "It's a joy for us to hear. Steve is a leader among the exceptionally strong community of high school coaches we have in our area, and his selection is a tribute to all of them. The Bengals are fortunate to be in a community where the football foundation is so strong, and of course we are proud to have one of our Paul Brown Award winners achieve this distinction."

Nominations for the Shula Award include submissions from NFL players, and Specht was nominated by one of his former St. Xavier players, defensive end Greg Scruggs of the Seattle Seahawks.

The Shula Award selection panel is a 10-person body including Coach Shula, Tony Dungy, John Madden and Condoleeza Rice.

St. Xavier lost to Colerain High School in the first round of the Division I Regional Championship playoffs this past season, 35-14.

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