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Year Three of the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards and Hatchell Cup Kicks Off

Nationwide recognition honors high school football teams for all-around excellence; nomination forms to go out this month; one team will win the NFF Hatchell Cup and a $10,000 donation.

IRVING, Texas (Nov. 16, 2023) 
The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that nomination forms have gone out for the 2023-24 NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards Presented by the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation. From the pool of state winners, one team will be selected as the best in the nation, winning a $10,000 donation and being named the recipient of the NFF Hatchell Cup Presented by “The Original” Bob’s Steak & Chop House.

The awards recognize the top high school football teams from each level of play in participating states for excellence in the classroom, on the field and in the community. The initiative is designed to inspire and foster a culture of academic excellence in high school football teams throughout the nation.

“Academic and athletic success go hand-in-hand,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “We are proud to partner with the state high school coaches associations who have participated with us to recognize the top teams in their respective states. We hope by inspiring teams to compete in the classroom with the same competitive spirit that it takes to win on the field, we will better prepare high school football players for success later in life.”

The individual state high school coaches associations are sending out their nomination forms to all of their head football coaches this month, and all submissions are due by Jan. 12, 2024. The state and national winners will be announced in February.

Eligibility requirements for the awards include: a minimum cumulative team GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; superior academic application and performance; and a successful football season. The individual state high school coaches associations select their respective state’s winners from a pool of nominees submitted by each school’s head coach.

The NFF recognized 60 teams this past February as state winners of the 2022-23 awards, with Grundy Center High School (IA) selected as the winner of the NFF Hatchell Cup. Cypress Woods HS (TX) claimed the inaugural Hatchell Cup in 2021-22. A total of 122 teams have been recognized since the program’s inception. The NFF announced the creation of the awards in February 2021, with the Nebraska and Texas state high school coaches associations leading the initial effort and engaging 33 state high school coaches associations in total. The awards represent the first nationwide recognition honoring individual high school football teams for excellence in the classroom.

“Texas is excited to continue to partner with the National Football Foundation in an effort to recognize team academic excellence,” said Joe Martin, the Executive Director of the THSCA. “This unique, national award recognizes High School Football teams that have excelled in academics during this football season. Not only does the game of football teach life lessons, but the teams receiving this award are proving they can compete in the classroom as well as on the gridiron.”

The Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation became the presenting sponsor of the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards for the 2023-24 season. The organization’s primary purpose is to preserve, protect, and enhance the Rose Bowl Stadium. “The Original” Bob’s Steak & Chop House became the presenting sponsor of the Hatchell Cup in December 2022, adding its support for the 2022-23 season. Bobs opened its original Dallas location in 1993 and subsequently across the nation offering a best-in-class steakhouse experience.

For more information on the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards or to learn how your state high school coach’s association can participate, please contact the NFF at

About the Texas High School Coaches Association
The Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) is the principal advocate and leadership organization for Texas high school coaches. The THSCA provides the highest quality representation, education, and services to Texas High School coaches and affiliate members by enhancing the professionalism of coaches and the schools they represent. The mission statement is simply this: To help and serve Texas high school coaches as they work to help and serve student-athletes, “HELPING COACHES HELP KIDS.” For more information on THSCA visit

About Texas High School Coaches Education Foundation
The mission of the Texas High School Coaches Education Foundation is to develop funds from a broad                       range of donors to provide professional education programs that will strengthen, reinforce, and enhance professionalism in high school coaches throughout the State of Texas. These programs provide instructional material as well as training in character development to coaches in   Texas at both the high school and middle school level and can directly impact the lives of over 1.5 million student-athletes each year. The two established events are the Texas Coaches Leadership Summit and the R.O.C.K. Mentoring Workshop.

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship, and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters in 47 states, NFF programs include the criteria, selection and induction of members of the College Football Hall of Fame; the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta; Future For Football; The William V. Campbell Trophy®; the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments; the NFF National High School Academic Excellence Awards presented by the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation & Hatchell Cup presented by the Original Bob’s Steak & Chop House; and a series of programs and initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Catapult, Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Hanold Associates Executive Search, Jostens, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the New York Athletic Club, the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation and the Sports Business Journal. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork and learn more at

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