How the Shrine Bowl Selections are Made

Decisions, Decisions... How Shrine Bowl Players, Coaches, Trainers Are Selected.

Here's a little multiple-choice quiz:

Shrine Bowl players are selected by:
(a) Shrine Bowl Coaches
(b) Influential Shriners
(c) College Recruiters
(d) News Media

The correct answer is "a", and it's been that way since the first Shrine Bowl Game in 1937. Shrine Bowl coaches, a head coach and seven assistants for each state, have total authority in player selection. It is a big job, given that only 88 Shrine Bowl all-stars can be picked from the thousands of Carolinas high school seniors are eligible each year.

The formal player selection process begins in September when the Shrine Bowl mails player recommendation forms to head football coaches at more than 500 schools. Every high school belonging to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) and the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) receive these forms.

The coaches are asked to recommend a maximum of four of their players, two backs and two linemen, however, coaches are not obligated to recommend any. This is important to remember because most coaches will not recommend players they know are not Shrine Bowl caliber. There can only be 2 players selected from a school. A lineman and a back, 2 backs or 2 linemen, but only 2, total.

The Shrine Bowl collects the recommendation forms, which must be signed by the recommended player's principal and the head football coach, vouching that the player is a senior eligible for participation under his school's academic standards. The forms are then turned over to the Shrine Bowl coaching staff.

The final selection takes place in mid October, when the Shrine Bowl coaches gather in Spartanburg to examine statistics, charts, scouting reports, film review and etc. Following final selection, The Shrine Bowl verifies that selected players are eligible under standards set by the NCHSAA and the SCHSL.

The selected players are then notified by mail. Each player selected must accept by a letter of confirmation. Once the paperwork is done, usually within 96 hours of final selection, the squads are publicly announced.

It is fair to ask how Shrine Bowl coaches make decisions about athletes that they have not seen in person. This is where the Shrine Bowls total support by the Carolinas' coaching community comes into play. Coaches in both states want to have the best Shrine Bowl squad possible and work throughout the season to channel honest and accurate player evaluations to the Shrine Bowl coaches. This is done informally via telephone calls, game films and correspondence.

In recent years, this information flow has become more normalized. The North Carolina Football Coaches Association has appointed members in each of the states six districts to coordinate Shrine Bowl Scouting with coaches in their districts. The South Carolina Coaches have used a similar system for several years.

Although never a determining factor, Shrine Bowl coaches also receive player information from college coaches and recruiters. The colleges however, do not exert pressure on the Shrine Bowl staffs, knowing that the game is a showcase for the Carolina's top high school seniors and not for players who may develop two or three years later as collegiate players.

Being a Shrine Bowl coach is an honor. But the title carries a lot of responsibility. The task of selecting the men for this vital position falls to the Shrine Bowl athletic director. Throughout the years the Shrine Bowl has had some good ones too, like its current athletic director, Ron Long.

Every October, the Shrine Bowl receives a list of recommended coaching candidates from the NCHSAA and the SCHSL. The Shrine Bowl is not bound by the recommendations, but more often than not they include names that are eventually chosen.

When making coaching selections, the Shrine Bowl athletic director and his staff examines a coach's longevity, won-loss record and numerous intangibles such as character, reputation, concern for academics, and coaching strengths which will allow him to work effectively with other Shrine Bowl coaches. Final coaching selections are publicly announced in December, during the current Shrine Bowl game (usually third quarter).

A Shrine Bowl coach must have previously served as a Shrine Bowl assistant coach. In most cases a Shrine Bowl assistant must wait five to seven years before being considered as a head coach.

Shrine Bowl Trainers are selected by the game's trainer coordinator, Elton Hawley of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Candidates are full-time trainers at North and South Carolina High Schools. Shrine Bowl trainers must be certified in their profession and be in good standing with either the NCHSAA or the SCHSL.

The Shrine Bowl game officials are selected by the NCHSAA and the SCHSL. The Game Officials Staff headed by Danny Martin, announce the referee and the seven-man crew that alternates between states each year.

The selection process in all areas, is a product of seven decades, and is as fair and as thorough as possible. The Shrine Bowl of The Carolina's is always proud to present the Carolinas' best! The announcement of players for the 71st Shrine Bowl to be played at Gibbs Stadium on the campus of Wofford College on Saturday, December 15th 2007 will be made later this week.

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