Mike Orlando, the head football coach at McNicholas High School who last season led his team to its highest win total in 11 years, was named today as the winner of the Paul Brown Excellence in Coaching Award for the 2021 season.
The award has been given annually by the Bengals since 2002. It honors outstanding high school football coaches in the region and includes a $10,000 Bengals donation to McNicholas High School's athletic department.
Bengals president Mike Brown presented Orlando with the award at the team's annual pre-training camp luncheon. Also in attendance was Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin, who has had two sons play for Orlando at McNicholas.
"I've seen firsthand the incredibly positive impact the McNicholas football program has on the students involved, as well as the broader community," said Tobin. "This is a testament to Mike Orlando, the fantastic coaches he's assembled as well as school leadership. The development of character in his student-athletes makes Mike a great example of what the Paul Brown Excellence in Coaching Award stands for."
Orlando enters his 12th season leading the McNicholas football team in 2022 and is the second-winningest coach in school history. In 2021, he guided the Rockets to an 11-2 record, marking the program's most victories since 2010. McNicholas won three games in the postseason to advance to the Ohio Division IV Regional Finals.
During his tenure as head football coach, Orlando has steadily increased the team's participation to over 100 players in the 500-student co-education school. In addition to his duties on the field, he maintains over a decade of experience as a member of the McNicholas faculty. Orlando began his career teaching business for seven years before being elevated to Director of Student Life and finally to his current position, Coordinator of Student Leadership Programs and Facilities.
Orlando is a 1999 graduate of Ohio University, where he was a three-year letter winner with the Bobcats football program. He went on to get his teaching certificate from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001, and in 2014 was inducted into the school's Baron Club, which honors those from the Ohio Valley who have made exceptional contributions to sport and the community.
He and his wife, Michelle, have three children, Sam, Max and Reni.
Orlando is the 21st winner of the Paul Brown Excellence in Coaching Award. Previous winners have been Chris Schmidt of New Bremen High School (2020 season), Aaron Hancock of Wyoming ('19), Andy Olds of Kings ('18), Eddie Eviston of Covington Catholic ('17), Noel Rash of Beechwood ('16), Dan McSurley of Clinton-Massie ('15), Nate Moore of La Salle ('14), Tim Goodwin of Marion (Ohio) Local ('13), Tom Crosby of Mariemont ('12), Bruce Kozerski of Covington Holy Cross ('11), Steve Klonne of Moeller ('10), Troy Everhart of Winton Woods ('09), Dale Mueller of Fort Thomas Highlands ('08), Jeff Giesting of Anderson ('07), Scott Datillo of Sycamore ('06), Steve Specht of St. Xavier ('05), Charles "Doc" Gamble of Withrow ('04), Doug Ramsey of Elder ('03), and Vince Suriano of Anderson and Mike Martin of Taft ('02 co-winners).