To celebrate Day 4 of "10 Days of Giving," the Cleveland Browns announced Lake Catholic High School Football Head Coach Marty Gibbons as the 2020 Cleveland Browns High School Coach of the Year, presented by Ohio CAT and in association with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and Raising Cane's.
In recognition of Gibbons' commitment to excellence on and off the field, the Browns and the team's High School Game of the Week partners will provide a $9,000 grant ($6,000 to the annual winner, plus the $3,000 given to all finalists) to benefit Lake Catholic High School's football program. Additionally, Gibbons will be the Browns' special guest during Cleveland's Monday Night Football game against the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on Dec. 14.
"I was shocked [to receive the 2020 Cleveland Browns High School Coach of the Year] to be honest – I had no clue it was coming today," Gibbons said when learning of the award during a socially-distanced event at Lake Catholic High School. "I am so proud of our kids and our players. I am glad they got to be a part of this because it is really an indication of those kids and what they were able to accomplish this year. I am just reaping the benefits of that. I am very proud of the kids. For me, that is really what it is about. It was cool for them to get to experience it.
"They are a fun, loving group. For a year like this where we had so many challenges, the way that they approached things and their mindset was a huge part of our success. They are a fun group of kids. They loved each other and they cared about each other a lot. That was a huge part of why we were able to have some success."
The Browns High School Coach of the Year award is based on a coach's overall body of work during the regular season and postseason, as well as character and community involvement, after being featured in the Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week.
Gibbons, a Lake Catholic alumnus who helped the school capture state championships as a student-athlete in 1991 and 1992, was named the Cougars' head football coach following the 2018 season. Since taking the position, he has led the team to a 14-10 record (.583), highlighted by a 10-3 finish this year and an appearance in the OHSAA Division IV State Championship game. It marked the first time Lake Catholic reached the title game since 2001.
In his free time, Gibbons runs the local CYO football program on Sundays during the season and is engaged in various community efforts throughout Lake County while also encouraging his players to do the same.
"Marty goes above and beyond the norm and is truly a players' coach," said Lake Catholic Athletic Director Sam Colacarro. "He cares for the young men both on and off the field and reinforces the importance of being outstanding representatives of Lake Catholic and the mission and core values that we instill. The players love him and respect what he does for them, and they invest 100% into his program. Marty is a man of faith, integrity and humble character, and his players respond to his leadership in all aspects of their lives."
For 10 weeks during a typical season, Browns fans and Northeast Ohio high school football supporters submit votes for nominated matchups to be featured as the Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week. Due to the shortened season resulting from COVID-19 protocols, the 11th consecutive year of the program encompassed Weeks 1-6, as well as the first round of the playoffs.
To begin every week of action, the Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week panelists – Browns senior manager of digital media Andrew Gribble, Browns producer of content and production Jason Gibbs and 850 ESPN's Matt Fontana – each select a marquee matchup from the upcoming schedule. After tabulating results from the fan vote both on the team's website and social media, the Browns then provide extensive coverage of fans' chosen contest.
The winning head coach from each Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week is eligible for the annual award, in addition to receiving the weekly $3,000 donation to their program. The head coach also receives a specially customized game ball while the game's MVP earns a Browns varsity letter patch.
To determine the 2020 Cleveland Browns High School Coach of the Year, the three panel members, as well as representatives from Ohio CAT, LECOM and Raising Cane's, submitted their votes based on the criteria of on-field success, program development and dedication to their local community.
2020 Cleveland Browns High School Coach of the Year finalists:
|Head Coach||High School||Record|
|Marty Gibbons||Lake Catholic||10-3|
|Tom Lombardo||St. Edward||6-2|
|T.J. Parker||Austintown Finch||7-1|
|Dan Yeagley||South Range||9-1|
The 2020 Cleveland Browns Coach of the Year announcement is part of Day 4 of the Browns "10 Days of Giving" initiative. Browns players, coaches and staff members will share unique stories about community initiatives and contributions as part of the team's yearlong commitment to education, youth football, social justice and inspiring others to support their communities through the First and Ten volunteering movement.
In addition to the team's First and Ten volunteering efforts, "10 Days of Giving" encompasses the Cleveland Browns Foundation's "Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day" Network and Browns Youth Football. The "Stay in the Game!" Network is focused on promoting equal educational opportunities for all students and school districts in Ohio, as well as combatting chronic absenteeism, while Browns Youth Football remains devoted to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football throughout the state by helping inspire a love of the game.
Following "10 Days of Giving," the Browns host the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium for Monday Night Football on Dec. 14. The team will highlight many significant initiatives as part of Browns Give Back's "Season of Giving" during the game, including recognition of local community partners and individuals who have made a meaningful impact on Northeast Ohio and beyond this season and throughout 2020.
Through Browns Give Back, the Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football throughout Northeast Ohio with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns' goal is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.