Gabe Infante, who spent nine seasons as football coach at St. Joseph’s Prep before leaving in December to become an assistant at Temple, was named the Don Shula NFL High School coach of the year on Sunday at the NFL Pro Bowl.
Infante, who was in Orlando to accept the award, won $15,000 with $10,000 of it going to St. Joe’s.
- Malcolm Jenkins, Lane Johnson rep Eagles as NFC loses to AFC in 2019 Pro Bowl
- Senior Bowl backfield has a South Jersey flavor with Millville’s Ryquell Armstead, Wildwood’s Wes Hills
- Rock Ya-Sin showed Temple that he could hit the ground running; Senior Bowl week seems built for the cornerback prospect
The award, named after the winningest coach in NFL history, was created to reward high school coaches for “their character and integrity [and] leadership and dedication” their communities, according to the NFL.
All 32 teams nominate a coach for the honor, and the Eagles chose to nominate Infante, who just led his team to an undefeated season and a Class 6-A state title.
After the season, Infante left the high-school ranks to join newly named head coach Manny Diaz, former Miami offensive coordinator, as an assistant. Diaz left Temple after about two weeks to return to Miami as head coach when Mark Richt announced his retirement.
Infante was supposed to be a defensive assistant under Diaz. Now, with the hiring of Rod Carey as head coach, Infante will take over the running backs.
“I connected with Coach Carey right away throughout the process and I think it became apparent that we were going to be able to work with each other," he said earlier this month. “I can’t really say I doubted where I was going to be."
This isn’t the first accolade Infante has picked up this year -- he was named the 2018 National High School Coaches Association‘s National Football Coach of the Year on Jan. 17.