Cincinnati Bengals High School Football Coach of the Week
Cincinnati Bengals Coach of the Week
The Cincinnati Bengals Coach of the Week presented by Paycor awards outstanding high school football coaches for their hard work and dedication, as well as their success on the field and in the community. Currently in its' 21st year, the Cincinnati Bengals High School Coach of the Week program has awarded over $250,000 to high school football programs throughout the Tri-State. This season's program will award $20,000 to aid in the development and promotion of high school football across the Tri-State, thanks to contributions from the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL Foundation and Paycor.
2022 Bengals Coach of the Week Honorees
Week 1 - Nick Ayers, Williamsburg High School
A Cincinnati native, Nick Ayers just wrapped up his first season as head football coach for the Williamsburg Wildcats, leading them to an 8-3 overall record. He served as a head coach for the previous 10 seasons in the West Clermont Local School District, where he led his teams to six postseason appearances. Ayers held assistant coaching roles at both the collegiate and high school levels after finishing his professional playing career with various leagues, including time on the Cincinnati Bengals offseason roster in the spring of 2004. Ayers founded the Ayers Football Academy, a non-profit that provides free training to children in grades K-8. On behalf of Coach Ayers' recognition, the Bengals and Paycor donated $2,000 to Williamsburg High School's football program.
Week 2 - Luke Cripe, Reading High School
The son of a football coach, Luke Cripe has been around the game his entire life. Coach Cripe started his high school football coaching career in 2003 at Varina High School in Richmond, Va. In 2007, he joined the staff at Anderson High School and helped lead the team to the OHSAA State Championship game in 2008, where Anderson became state runners-up. Coach Cripe was hired as the head football coach at Reading High School in the spring of 2022. He led the Blue Devils, a Division IV program, to a win over Division II Talawanda in just his second game. He is an active volunteer with the Athletic Boosters in the Reading comunity and sets an example for his team on giving back. Coach Cripe organized a communitiy collection for the Eastern Kentucky Flood Victims earlier this year. Cripe is married and has three children. On behalf of Coach Cripe's recognition, the Bengals and Paycor donated $2,000 to Reading High School's football program.
Week 3 - Greg Bonifay, Stebbins High School
Coach Greg Bonifay just completed his sixth season as head coach at Stebbins High School. During his tenure at Stebbins, his teams won the second league title in school history, qualified for the playoffs for the first time in school history, and hosted and won the first playoff game in school history. Coach Bonifay was named the 2020 Division II Ohio State Coach of the Year. Putting his players and his math students' needs ahead of all else has always been his priority. In total, Coach Bonifay has coached high school football for 23 years. Prior to his time at Stebbins, he was head coach at Southeastern High School (nine years), and an assistant coach at Miamisburg and Wilson High School (South Carolina). Bonifay is married to his wife Nichole and has four daughters, Layni, Maddie, Lyvi, and Morgen. On behalf of Coach Bonifay's recognition, the Bengals and Paycor donated $2,000 to Stebbins High School's football program.
Week 4 - Maurice Harden, Xenia High School
Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Maurice Harden started his coaching career at Urbana University in 2013 after completing his playing career as Urbana's four-year starting fullback. Coach Harden was the running backs coach, strength & conditioning coach, run game coordinator, and assisted coaching all offensive positions during his tenure with Urbana. He transitioned to a career as a high school coach when he became the offensive coordinator at Chaminade Julienne High School in 2016. In February 2021, Coach Harden was named the head football coach at Xenia High School. In just his second season, he led Xenia to the first undefeated season in school history and a 10-1 overall record. With the motto "Brick by Brick," Coach Harden has galvanized the community by building a great program along with great relationships with players of every age. The win over unbeaten Piqua, who entered the game having not allowed a point all season, was a testament to the hard working mentality Coach Harden has instilled in his players. On behalf of Coach Harden's recognition, the Bengals and Paycor donated $2,000 to Xenia High School's football program.
Week 5 - Bill Crabtree, Northwest (McDermott) High School
Coach Bill Crabtree just finished his fourth season at his alma mater Northwest High School in McDermott, Ohio. Under Crabtree's guidance, Northwest's 2022 senior class became the winningest class in school history, won two conference championships (2020, 2022) and made the playoffs in three out of four years. In the school's first-ever playoff game in 2020, Crabtree led the Mohawks to an upset over highly favored Portsmouth High School. Northwest overcame two more major hurdles in 2022, beating Oak Hill High School for the first time since 1986 and taking down crosstown rival Lucas Valley for the first time since 2000. The Mohawks finished the regular season with a 7-3 record, making this year's senior class the first in school history to never have a losing record. Coach Crabtree and his wife, Tara, have three children and one grandson. On behalf of Coach Crabtree's recognition, the Bengals and Paycor donated $2,000 to Northwest High School's football program.
Week 6 - Kali Jones, Withrow High School
A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a graduate of Wright State University, Coach Kali Jones honorably served his country as a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps before pursuing a career as a financial advisor. Realizing he could have a better impact on inner-city youth by pairing his love for the game of football with the ability to instill dedication and discipline in young people, the married father of four left the financial world to become a coach. He has since been an intricate part of prominent football programs in the Dayton and Cincinnati areas such as Wayne High School, Dayton Christian, Woodward and currently, Withrow High School. He successfully rebuilt the Withrow Football program by developing and implementing a comprehensive in-season and off-season program. While creating a culture dedicated to winning, Coach Jones has also instituted a holistic approach for mental and physical wellness, as well as an academic focus including a tutoring program that remained in operation even through the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts have successfully resulted in historic program milestones, championships, numerous college offers for student-athletes, and restoring a positive culture for fans and supporters. As the 2022 CMAC Coach of the Year, Coach Jones has high aspirations and more he wants to accomplish, and he is excited for what the future holds for the Withrow Football program. On behalf of Coach Jones' recognition, the Bengals and Paycor donated $2,000 to Withrow High School's football program.
Week 7 - Chad Murphy, Winton Woods High School
In his second season as head coach at Winton Woods High School, Chad Murphy led the Warriors to a 10-0 record for the first time in school history and an Eastern Cincinnati Conference (ECC) championship. Murphy, who is 25-3 overall since taking over as head coach at Winton Woods in 2021, finished this season on a 21-game winning streak. Twenty of those contests were won by 10 points or more. The Warrior defense forced 35 turnovers with 20 interceptions and 14 fumble recoveries resulting in eight touchdowns and 554 yards on pick returns. Winton Woods also totaled 71 sacks. Offensively, the Warriors averaged 39 points per game, outscoring their opponents by 329 points and 48 touchdowns. The offense accumulated 2,394 rushing yards and 2,000 passing yards this season. Murphy was named the 2022 ECC Coach of the Year. On behalf of Coach Murphy's recognition, the Bengals and Paycor donated $2,000 to Winton Woods High School's football program.
Week 8 - Paul Wiggins, Bishop Brossart High School
In his ninth season as head coach at Bishop Brossart High School in 2021, Paul Wiggins Jr. guided the Mustangs to a 12-1 record and their first district championship. Wiggins, who was named the District Coach of the Year in 2019, 2020 and 2021, was additionally voted Coach of the Year by the Northern Kentucky Football Coaches Association in 2021. In a defensive battle against district rival Bracken County, an 80-yard pass from Austin Schadler to Alex Amin, with the extra point kicked by Tyler Smith, was the difference. The defense was anchored by Evan Orth and Eli Twehues. A week later the Mustangs would defeat the Paris Greyhounds 38-13 to win back-to-back district championships. On behalf of Coach Wiggin's recognition, the Bengals and Paycor donated $2,000 to Bishop Brossart High School's football program.
Week 9 - Robert Rachel, Gamble Montessori High School
Coach Robert Rachel is a graduate of Taft High School and came home to coach in the Cincinnati Public School District in 2016. In his seven years at Gamble Montessori High School, he has taken a 1-9 team and continued steady growth as he installed new systems and philosophies. In 2021 and 2022, Coach Rachel led his teams to the OHSAA Playoffs, winning Gamble's first conference championship in 2022. With a solid group of seniors returning in 2023, Coach Rachel is looking forward to even more growth and opportunity for his players. On behalf of Coach Rachel's recognition, the Bengals and Paycor donated $2,000 to Gamble Montessori High School's football program.
Week 10 - Justin Roden, Oak Hills High School
Coach Justin Roden is a veteran coach with 23 years of experience and just completed his third year as head coach at Oak Hills High School. Roden in 2022 led the Highlanders to a 5-5 overall record and was named the Southwest Ohio Coach of the Year. Prior to Oak Hills, Coach Roden spent time as head coach at Noblesville High School and East Central High School. He led East Central to a Class 4A State Championship in 2017, three regional championships, a state runner-up berth, and five Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference championships. Roden was the Indiana Football Coaches Association 4A Coach of the Year in 2017, and a five-time EIAC Coach of the Year. He was a part of the coaching staff for the Colerain Cardinals' 2004 state championship team and also spent time as associate head coach at Mount Healthy High School and special teams coordinator for the College of Mount St. Joesph. Coach Roden and his wife, Jen, have two children, JT and Hailey. On behalf of Coach Roden's recognition, the Bengals and Paycor donated $2,000 to Oak Hills High School's football program.