"Thank God for blessing his children," Craddock told ABC11 over the phone. "Blessed with great coaches, players, great community and great kids."
Congratulations to Tarboro HS Football Head Coach Jeff Craddock runner-up in the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year. The award honors HS coaches who display the integrity, achievement, and leadership exemplified by Don Shula. @TarboroFootball #TarboroFootball— ABC11Charlie Mickens (@GameDayCharlie) January 27, 2019
Each NFL team nominates a high school football coach for the award. The Carolina Panthers nominated Jeff Craddock of Tarboro High School.
The announcement of the winner was made at the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida on ESPN/ABC.
Craddock and other coaches were in Orlando for the Pro Bowl festivities since Thursday.
Craddock was on the field when the winner was announced.
Gabe Infante of St. Joseph's Prep in Pennsylvania was named the winner. Infante was nominated by the Philadelphia Eagles.
The winner and runner-up each get $15,000, $10,000 of which goes to the schools' football programs.
"I have ideas," Craddock said. He explained that he has plans for a nice weight room for the team.
"The kids deserve it. It will go back to the kids to improve the weight room."
Craddock, along with the winner, will also get an all-expense-paid trip to the Super Bowl in Atlanta.
This will be a special Super Bowl trip for Craddock. He will get to see one of his former players, Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams), play in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.
"Amazing," Craddock said. "God has orchestrated this. Yes, to be watching a player I coached, I just thank God."
The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year is awarded to the coach that displays the integrity, achievement, and leadership exemplified by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula.
Craddock and the Tarboro Vikings won the State 1AA high school championship over East Surry in December, the sixth in the history of the school.