Steve Specht, who coaxed Greg Scruggs into playing football at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, was presented the 2012 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award this morning during a ceremony in New Orleans as part of the Super Bowl festivities.
Scruggs, a defensive lineman and seventh-round draft pick by the Seahawks last April, nominated Specht for the annual award that is named after the winningest coach in NFL history. But to Scruggs, Specht is a winner with or without the national recognition.
“I’m a spitting image of what coach Specht is all about – respect, discipline, working hard, being a man, remembering where I came from, staying humble,” said Scruggs, who did not play football for Specht until his senior year. “All the characteristics you can find in me are a direct reflection of not only my family but from him. He was my first impression of football. So whatever he instilled in me, that’s all I knew and that’s what I was going to take with me.
“So to this day, even with the Seahawks, everybody on the staff and around the organization knows that I’m going to work my rear off and at the end of the day that will never waver, and that I’m going to be respectful and mindful of the media and coaches and friends and players and fans alike. And that’s a direct reflection of my first impressions of ever being exposed to it, and that was with Steve Specht.”
With the award comes $10,000 for Specht and another $15,000 for the football program at Xavier. It makes it even sweeter because Specht never got into high school coaching for the monetary rewards.
“You work at this profession, at this level, you’re hoping that you’re helping to turn boys into men,” Specht said. “Everything that we preach, everything we talk about, you sometimes wonder if it’s gotten through to the kids. Then something like this happens. So you look back and you say, ‘We did it. We made an impact,’ because Greg Scruggs cared enough to give back.”