Russell Athletic announced Central High School in Providence, Rhode Island as the 2015 “Fight Like Dylan Award” recipient today. The award, celebrating its fifth year, honors high school programs around the nation that have demonstrated inspiring determination and perseverance through sports. A distinguished panel of judges, led by former NFL coach Tony Dungy, selected Central High School after reviewing hundreds of submissions sent in by coaches, administrators, community members, parents and former athletes from across the country.
The Central football team and community epitomize what it means to persevere during adversity. In 2015, the Knights reached the state playoffs and recorded their first winning season since 2011 while dealing with the tragic loss of one of their key players, overall funding and resource challenges, and navigating a variety of personal/family crises. The team has acted as a family for its players both on and off the field, providing both hope and opportunity.
“Each year there are numerous deserving high schools that make this decision difficult. We received hundreds of entries from across the country and the fifth year of the program proved to be just as tough selecting a winner,” said Robby Davis, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Russell Athletic. “We are inspired by this team and all of the students, faculty and supporting community at Central High School. It is an honor to present this award to them.”
“It’s tough to put into words how much this will mean to our players and overall community,” said Peter Rios, Central High School head football coach, athletic director and teacher. “We are so grateful to Russell Athletic and everyone involved with the ‘Fight Like Dylan Award’ to recognize us with this prestigious accolade.”
Central follows in the footsteps of the previous four recipients, all of whom have exemplified a dedication to overcoming obstacles and rallying their communities around a common goal. Each school has honored the memory of Dylan Rebeor, a high school football player whose last wish before passing away in 2011 was for his teammates to receive new uniforms.
“Stories like Central High School are the reason I got involved with this tremendous program, and am proud to partner with Russell Athletic to recognize the Knights this year” said Coach Dungy. “Among the hundreds of entries were numerous worthy candidates, all honoring Dylan’s life and the meaning of this award. The way that Central rallied the entire school and surrounding community was truly inspiring.”
To celebrate the award, select members of the Central Knights community are in Orlando and will receive the award during the Russell Athletic Bowl press conference on Monday, December 28th. They will also be recognized on field during the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl on Tuesday, December 29th, 2015, broadcast live on ESPN. The game will feature #10 North Carolina and #17 Baylor.
Previous recipients of the “Fight Like Dylan Award” include:
- 2014: Shoreham Wading-River High School (Long Island, NY)
- 2013: Buena Vista High School (Buena Vista, CO)
- 2012: Williamsport High School (Williamsport, MD)
- 2011: Edmonson County High School (Edmonson, KY)
Coach Dungy, Heather Rebeor (Dylan’s Mother), and a representative from each of the past “Fight Like Dylan Award” recipients served on this year’s selection committee. To learn more about Dylan’s story, please visit www.FightLikeDylan.org.
“Our family’s hearts were immediately touched when we read Central’s story,” said Heather Rebeor. “These young men show the same team spirit that Dylan did and I’m so glad they are getting the support through the ‘Fight Like Dylan Award.’ This year has been another tremendous one for this very special program and I know Dylan is proud.”