2012 AFCF CEO Coach of the Year - Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League

AFCF CONTACT: Vince Thompson, Director of Media Relations


WACO, TEXAS – The American Football Coaches Foundation® today announced that Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), is the 2012 recipient of its CEO Coach of the Year® Award.

This is the highest honor bestowed by the organization, whose inaugural recipient in 2006 was Jeffrey R. Immelt, the CEO of General Electric. Former Domino’s Pizza CEO David Brandon, MidAmerican Energy Holdings CEO David Sokol, former HP CEO Mark Hurd, FedEx Corp. Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith and BP Capital L.P. Chairman and CEO T. Boone Pickens received the honor in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Goodell was selected for the award by a unanimous vote of the AFCF® Board of Directors. He will be honored at The Foundation’s CEO Coach of the Year Dinner, held at The Waldorf=Astoria® in New York, N.Y., on December 10, 2012.

“Roger Goodell has demonstrated outstanding leadership as commissioner of the NFL,” AFCF Executive Director Grant Teaff said. “His concern for the safety and well-being of the NFL players, who come from our colleges and universities, is deeply appreciated. The fair, yet decisive way in which Roger has dealt with personal conduct over the years has not gone unnoticed, most recently, the message sent to players and coaches alike, making it clear the ‘bounty’ mentality would not be tolerated. The AFCA Board of Trustees joins the AFCF Board in unanimously selecting Roger Goodell as our 2012 CEO Coach of the Year. In doing so, we let the world know we stand with him in protecting our players and the great game of football.”

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the American Football Coaches Foundation,” Goodell said. “I take my responsibility to the game of football very seriously, especially as we place a sharp focus on player health and safety and the integrity of the game.  We know that our actions impact all levels of the game and we have to make sure that we strive every day to do what is right for the game.”

Goodell is entering his seventh season as commissioner of the NFL. He was chosen to replace the retiring Paul Tagliabue on August 8, 2006. Since taking over as commissioner, Goodell has addressed a wide range of issues to improve the NFL, including player health and safety; the medical needs and pensions of retired players; personal conduct; innovative fan services; and international development.

In 2011, Goodell helped secure a landmark 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association, the longest in the history of professional sports. He also helped secure new long-term television contracts with CBS, FOX and NBC. The new agreements continue the NFL’s tradition of being the only sports league that shows all of its regular-season and playoff games on free, over-the-air television.

Goodell joined the NFL in 1982 as an administrative intern in the league office in New York. After spending the 1983 season as an intern with the New York Jets, he returned to the league office in 1984 as an assistant in the public relations department. Goodell was later appointed assistant to the president of the American Football Conference, Lamar Hunt, by then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle in 1987. Under Rozelle’s successor, Paul Tagliabue, Goodell served in various senior executive roles, eventually being appointed executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2001. In this role, Goodell was responsible for the league’s football operations and officiating departments in addition to supervising all league business functions.

Even before becoming commissioner, Goodell was instrumental in many league accomplishments, including expansion, realignment, and stadium development. He directed the dramatic transformation and growth of the NFL’s business units, played a lead role in the launch of the NFL Network, and was a key member of the negotiating team that produced the NFL’s television agreements.

Beyond the business side of the NFL, Goodell was also highly involved in the football operations side of the league. He helped lead the 1994 initiative for rules changes to improve offensive production, while also overseeing the administration of the instant replay system and restructuring of the officiating department. Goodell serves on the boards of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City and Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, New York. He is also president of NFL Charities, the league’s charitable foundation.

Goodell was born in Jamestown, New York, on February 19, 1959. The Goodell family moved to Bronxville, New York in 1971, where Roger graduated from high school after serving as captain in the three sports he played: football, basketball, and baseball. Goodell went on to graduate magna cum laude from Washington & Jefferson College in 1981 with a degree in economics. He was awarded the school’s Walter Hudson Baker Prize for excellence in economics.

The funds raised from the CEO Coach of the Year dinner will support the AFCF’s education initiatives through the American Football Coaches Association’s publications, website and national convention. More than 6,000 football coaches from all levels attend the national convention, and more than 11,000 football coaches globally benefit through personal, technical and leadership development. Because of The Foundation, football coaches on all levels nationwide pay minimal membership dues and are never charged a convention fee.

The AFCF, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization was established by the American Football Coaches Association in 1998 to fund its education mission. Its specific responsibility is to seek contributions from a broad range of donors – friends, businesses, corporations, foundations and trusts, to support and implement existing AFCA educational programs; and, to develop exciting and dynamic new initiatives that will serve the coaches, the student-athletes, and the schools they represent. Contributions generated by The Foundation will ensure that the coaching community will continue to have the finest possible professional development and educational tools, now and in the future.
“Coach George Smith is not only an influence on young people, but the influence is multiplied many times in the beliefs of the young people he helped mold into amazing human beings. George is an outstanding coach, but more importantly, he is an outstanding gentleman.” —Tina Jones, Principal of St. Thomas Aquinas High School