Detroit, MI—The Detroit Lions have named Derek Pennington of Zeeland East High School the week nine recipient of the 2012 High School Coach of the Week Program presented by the Michigan National Guard.
On October 19, Pennington led his Chix, currently ranked No. 3 in Division 3, to a 40-39 victory over No. 1 ranked Muskegon to raise their record to 9-0. Now in his 5th season as head coach at Zeeland East, Pennington has a career record of 39-11. Pennington came to a program that had 9 consecutive losing seasons prior to his arrival, including one win over a 3 year period. He spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Grand Haven, two seasons at Kalamazoo Central and nine years total at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix (4 years-Head Coach, 5 years-Assistant). This Friday, Zeeland East will host cross town rival Zeeland West at Zeeland Stadium at 7 p.m. in the first round of MHSAA Football Playoffs.
In terms of promoting player health and safety within the football program, ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), in partnership with Holland Hospital, is provided to all Zeeland East student-athletes (freshmen-senior). ImPACT testing is a 20-minute test that has become a standard tool used in comprehensive clinical management of concussions for athletes from age 10 through adulthood. Once a student-athlete is cleared to play, there is still a return to play protocol administered by the Zeeland East athletic trainers to ensure the overall health and safety of the student-athlete.
Coach of the Week Program
Each week throughout the 2012 nine-week high school football regular season, one coach that best develops his players’ character, discipline, and football skill in addition to emphasizing player health and safety in their program, will be recognized for his commitment to the team, school, and community. The winner is selected by a panel of high school football media members—Mick McCabe (Detroit Free Press), Hugh Bernreuter (Saginaw News), Bret Bakita (107.3 FM-WBBL, Grand Rapids), and Scott DeCamp (Mlive.com/Kalamazoo).
This season’s program will award $22,000 to aid in the development and promotion of high school football in the state of Michigan thanks to contributions from the Detroit Lions and the National Football League and presenting sponsor, Michigan National Guard.
Each winning coach throughout the regular season will receive a $2,000 donation to his school’s football program. All weekly winners will be honored at an awards ceremony during the Lions-Bears game at Ford Field on December 30. During the ceremony, the Lions will also introduce the High School Coach of the Year. This season’s Coach of the Year will receive a $4,000 donation to his team’s football program.
In addition to the monetary award, all winners receive a certificate signed by Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz and National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell. Winning coaches also receive a personalized game ball and a Detroit Lions “Coach of the Week” hat.
Currently in its’ 16th year, the Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week program has awarded $290,000 to high school football programs throughout the state of Michigan. For more information on the Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week program, contact Chris Fritzsching, Lions’ Director of Youth Football, at 313-262-2248.