NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Titans announced today that Robert Gillard, head football coach of Austin-East High School in Knoxville, Tenn. has been named as the Titans High School Football Coach of the Week. The Austin-East Roadrunners, through great defense and special teams play, defeated powerhouse Alcoa, 24-7, becoming the only team other than Maryville to defeat the top-ranked school since 2006. Austin-East held Alcoa to single digit points scored for the first time since 2003.
"I think it's a great recognition for Coach Gillard," said Benny Perry, Austin-East's Executive Principal. "He has worked hard to change the players' attitude about competing every week. The kids have worked out harder, towards conditioning, than I have ever seen. He is also adamant about academics and has after school tutoring two days a week."
"Coach Gillard has great rapport with all the kids, he goes beyond the call of the duty to assist the athlete's personal situations," said Athletic Director Alvin Armstead. "He is a wonderful role model; a lot of the kids love Coach Gillard and he has built a great relationship with the parents."
Through the Titans Foundation, team owner K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr. will make a $1,000 contribution to the Austin-East High School football program in Coach Gillard's honor.
"High school football enjoys a great tradition in Tennessee," said Adams. "That tradition is based not only on the outstanding quality of play but on the devotion of their coaches who continue to develop high school football players into young men of strong character. I'm very pleased to underwrite this program that recognizes the efforts of so many talented high school coaches across the state!"
Coach Gillard will be the team's guest at the Titans vs. New Orleans Saints contest on December 11th when the Titans honor all 2011 Coach of the Week winners. On that date, the Titans will also announce the winner of the 2011 Coach of the Year, who will earn a $2,000 grant for his football program.
Also receiving strong consideration in this week's poll, with outstanding performances, were Robert Lassiter of Gallatin, whose team came back from a 21-0 deficit to defeat Oakland 31-29; Graham Clark of Dobyns-Bennett defeating Sevier County 42-41 and receiving his 200th victory; Eric Swanson of Huntingdon High School, defeating Union City 55-20.
Now in its 12th season, Mr. Adams has awarded more than $140,000 from the Titans Foundation to football programs across the state in honor of the Coach of the Week winners.
The criterion for selection includes the coach's impact on his team, school and community. A statewide media panel votes each week to determine the weekly winner. All high school football coaches in Tennessee, regardless of their school's size, league, or division, are eligible to be selected each week. The program is designed to recognize high school coaches who transform, through their hard work and dedication, student-athletes into the best possible football players and citizens in their community.