SANTA FE, Texas — A local coach is being honored in a huge way.

The Houston Texans and the NFL are recognizing Santa Fe High School’s head coach Mark Kanipes as a finalist for prestigious Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award.

For instance, while the high school football season is over, work on and off the field for football Coach Mark Kanipes never stops.

He said once one season ends, the next one basically begins the next day basically.

This past year the Santa Fe Indians finished their season 5-6.

Last May, the usually quiet town was shaken to its core by a senseless act of violence at the high school which claimed the lives of 10 people. 

As we noted in September, the national spotlight came but quickly went away, leaving the residents to overcome this tragedy emotionally with each other. 

WATCH: ‘Santa Fe Strong’

“We made the playoffs which is something that hasn’t been done for like nine, 10 years in Santa Fe,” Coach Kanipes said. “We’ve been on a 10-year drought.”

The coach said any record this year is a victory.

“I was really proud of the way the kids came around and played, especially with all the stuff that happened on the side,” he said. “They were able to focus in and get the job done.”

The coach’s leadership and commitment to his team isn’t being overlooked.

“That was a really big surprise and a shock,” Kanipes said. “I didn’t really see that coming.”

All 32 NFL teams recognized one person in their community who represents the best in high school football and the Texans believe Coach Kanipes is the one.

“I don’t really look at it as a me thing. More of what our staff was able to accomplish,” he said. “It’s not a one man job. It’s a multi-layered job.”

In a statement NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “High school football coaches not only serve as leaders, but as role models dedicated to shaping the lives of young high school players on and off the field.”

As a role model, Coach Kanipes knows he has to push his team to finish whatever they start no matter how hard life gets.

Coach Kanipes will attend this year’s Pro Bowl in Orlando.

Two finalists will each receive $15,000 from the NFL Foundation, $10,000 which will go to their high school’s football program.

They will also get to attend this year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta.

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