Monday, September 24, 2012 —
The Carolina Panthers recently announced the selection of Albemarle Head Coach Danny Akins as their first High School Coach of the Week of the 2012 season.
Akins is in his third season at the helm of the Albemarle football program, two years removed from the team’s back-to-back NCHSAA state championship titles, the second of which came during his first season in charge.
After losing 12 starters to graduation last season, he was able to lead his team to the Western Regional Finals, losing only to the eventual state champs.
While Akins has seen great success on the field, he has made just as great an impact off it. This starts with the stringent academic standards he holds his student-athletes to. Every player must maintain at or above a 77 percent in each class, or they will not play.
If they dip below the requirement, the player must attend after school tutorials to bring the grade up. It is this side of Akins’ coaching which brought his athletic director to say that he “has instilled Bulldog Pride” not only with athletics but with respect [to] academics as well.”
Through this “Bulldog Pride” initiative, Akins hopes to inspire his players to strive for greatness both inside and outside of the classroom.
Akins says, “As visible ambassadors for our school, it’s important for our players to lead by example and be engaged around the school and Stanly County in a variety of projects, whether it’s volunteering at the food bank, moving furniture or visiting with senior citizens.”
Akins and Albemarle High are leading by example in their outreach initiatives by successfully implementing a military appreciation night, in which military personnel are admitted free to a home game and branches are recognized during pregame and halftime activities.
His colleagues put it perfectly in describing the coach as “a father figure to most of the team and does many behind the scene deeds for families in need. He is a quiet man and doesn’t like to parade himself in public ... when Coach Akins walks in the door, it’s for an important reason.”
In recognition of Akins, Carolina Panthers Charities will donate $1,000 to the Albemarle High School’s athletic department.
All of this year’s winners will be honored with an on-field presentation during the Panthers home game versus the Oakland Raiders on Dec. 23.
At that time, the 2012 Coach of the Year will be announced and the winning coach will receive an additional $2,000 grant for his school’s athletic department.