Today, on International Women's Day, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the launch of the High School Girls Flag Football Coach of the Week award, presented by Nike, increasing the team's commitment to supporting gender equality on and off the field. The Buccaneers are the first NFL team to establish a Coach of the Week program dedicated solely to girls flag football, a sanctioned spring varsity sport by the Florida High School Athletic Association.
"Florida is home to some of the nation's top girls flag football programs, and we're proud to give these athletes and coaches the same recognition as their tackle football counterparts," said Buccaneers Co-Owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. "The High School Coach of the Week award has been a longstanding community initiative that we look forward to continuing this fall, and as flag football continues to gain traction as one of America's fastest-growing sports, the Buccaneers are eager to honor those who are leading the way right here in Tampa Bay."
Online voting for Week One nominees begins today on Buccaneers.com, where fans will have the opportunity to vote for a deserving coach each week throughout the spring season. Winning coaches will receive a $2,000 grant from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation to support the school's flag football program as well as coaching gear from Nike. Each of the coaches will also be in the running for the 2022 Buccaneers High School Girls Flag Football Coach of the Year honor, which will be voted on at the end of the season and include an additional $2,000 grant to the winning coach's school.
Coming off noteworthy appearances in last week's Tampa Bay Buccaneers Girls Flag Football Preseason Classic, presented by AdventHealth, the Week One nominees are:
- Jordan Peterson (Brandon High School)
- Josh Saunders (Robinson High School)
- Dylan Shearon (Wharton High School)
- Darryl Simmons (Largo High School).
Tampa Bay-area coaching nominees are selected by the Buccaneers based on a coach's impact both on and off the field, including demonstrating leadership, showing a commitment to teaching fundamentals and player safety, exhibiting positive behavior, establishing respectful and productive relationships with other coaches, and being dedicated to growing the sport of flag football in the Tampa Bay community. For a full list of details and award guidelines, visit Buccaneers.com. The weekly winner will be announced each Saturday and posted on the Buccaneers' website.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers remain at the forefront of supporting gender equality by establishing programming and football leagues, creating college scholarships, hosting special events and promoting career development for girls and women. Last week, the team hosted the fourth annual Tampa Bay Buccaneers Girls Flag Football Preseason Classic, presented by AdventHealth. A Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation event, the three-day competition welcomed more than 1,500 athletes and 70 girls flag football teams to Tampa to help kick off the Florida High School Athletic Association flag football season.
For years, the Buccaneers have worked with local schools to carry out the Jr. Bucs Flag Football Program, which grows the game of football in more than 90 Tampa Bay middle schools and supports over 35,000 female students every year. The team also created the Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football League, a first-of-its-kind league in the City of Tampa, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation covers league fees and equipment for all participants at two dozen Tampa Parks and Recreation centers
In 2021, the Buccaneers launched the Women's Summit for Careers in Football, an ongoing program that strengthens the pipeline of women pursuing NFL careers through informative, engaging sessions featuring high-profile hosts and Buccaneers leadership. And the team is currently accepting application for the third annual Buccaneers Girls in Football Scholarship, made possible through a $250,000 commitment from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation. The Buccaneers are the first NFL team to create an academic college scholarship program for girls who play organized football and are passionate about pursuing a career in sports.