By Sports Editor Brian Hoffman
The only thing that could have made Sunday, Jan. 7, a better day for William
Byrd High School football coach Brad Lutz is if his lifetime favorite team had
won the game.
Lutz was a guest of the Washington Commanders Sunday when the team
played host to the Dallas Cowboys in the final game of the National Football
League regular season. He was one of 10 coaches selected as the “Coach of the
Week” in the greater Washington area through the 2023 high school season. One
of the 10 would be the Commanders’ nominee for the NFL-wide Don Shula NFL
High School Coach of the Year Awards, and last week it was announced Lutz was
the recipient of that honor.
One of the benefits of being named a Coach of the Week was a trip to see
the Commanders play Dallas last Sunday. The 10 weekly winners were all
allowed to bring one guest, and Brad chose his father, Charlie, to share the
experience with him.
“We’re long time Washington fans in our family,” said Lutz. “The
Redskins were a religion in our house.”
Brad and Charlie were on the field for warmups prior to the game, then
moved to a luxury box at FedEx Field along with the other nine nominees and
their guests. Each coach was presented a gift bag that included a commemorative
football, a toboggan, a scarf and some other Commanders items. During the game
they moved down to the field during a timeout to be recognized by the crowd.
“It was an outstanding experience, everything was first class,” said Lutz.
“I was fortunate enough to meet some people who I’d admired, like (former
Washington quarterback) Doug Williams and (former receiver) Gary Clark, who
played for Pulaski County.”
Unfortunately for the home team the Cowboys won the game, 38-10.
Dallas was a big favorite but early in the game the Commanders blocked a kick
and had a tipped interception that led to a 10-7 lead. Was Lutz feeling an upset
“To be honest, it was hard to pay attention to the game,” he said. “When
you get 10 high school football coaches together in the same room we talked a lot
of football. I knew a couple of the other coaches, and I had about a 30 minute
conversation with Gary Clark. I really enjoyed talking to him.”
It was a great atmosphere for a guy who grew up with the Redskins. While
Brad appreciates the reason for the name change, he sometimes finds it hard to
call the team Commanders.
“We grew up with the Redskins, and I’m old school,” he said. “My dad
was at the game when Joe Theismann broke his leg. It was a thrill to meet some of
the ex-players like Raleigh McKenzie and Don Warren.”
It was announced last week that Lutz had been selected to represent the
Commanders in the national Don Shula Award process, one of 32 high school
coaches with each team having one nominee. Brad was
humbled to be chosen.
“To be mentioned in the same sentence with Don Shula is a great honor,”
he said. “There’s an interesting lineup of coaches for this award. Jason
Witten(former Cowboys tight end) is one of the nominees.”
While Lutz is appreciative of the honor, he’s quick to credit his staff,
players, school and community for being part of the success. Two national
winners, one from each conference, will receive a $15,000 check for their school
and that’s something he’d love to present Byrd athletic director Jason Taylor.
“It’s nice to get recognized as the head coach but there are so many people
involved in the success of our program,” said Lutz. “To be considered is a
tremendous honor for the school and our football program, and they all share in