The Kansas City Chiefs have announced that Staley High School's Phil Lite has been named the 2017 Missouri Coach of the Year and De Soto High School's Brian King has been named the 2017 Eric Driskell Kansas Coach of the Year. Each received the honor after strong performances by their respective teams throughout the 2017 high school football season.
As a result of this accolade, Lite and King will each be presented with official trophies and a certificate by Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt at a pregame ceremony this Sunday, Dec. 24, at Arrowhead Stadium before the Chiefs take on the Miami Dolphins. Additionally, both schools will receive a $1,450 grant from the Hunt Family Foundation designated for player health and safety and/or education. For the second consecutive year, the NFL has invited all Coaches of the Year for a trip to the 2018 Pro Bowl.
Lite led the Falcons to an undefeated season and their second Missouri Class 5 state title, defeating the Pattonville Pirates 36-35 on a two-point conversion with just seconds left in the game. The Falcons closed the season ranked No. 1 in Missouri Class 5.
"It is a tremendous honor to be named the Kansas City Chiefs Missouri High School Coach of the Year for 2017," Lite said. "As grateful as I am to accept this award, I would be remiss if I didn't accept it in behalf of my entire coaching staff, my players, my parent group, and my school administrative staff, all of who work endless hours to support this team 365 days a year. The 2017 season will not be forgotten. Thank you Staley Nation, the Kansas City Chiefs and PrepsKC."
Lite finished his 27th year in high school coaching, and his 10th year with the Falcons but just his second season as head coach. He has recorded a 24-3 record during his two years as head coach. In 2016, he guided the Falcons to the semi-finals of the high school playoffs. Lite also teaches strength and conditioning at Staley. He has been a clinician presenter and speaker throughout the Midwest and often serves as a consultant for various coaching staffs.
During the 2017 season, King led the Wildcats to a 10-2 record and a Class 4A-1 sub-state championship, where they fell to Bishop Miege, who later went on to win the state championship.
"It is a great honor to be selected as the Kansas City Chiefs Coach of the Year. It is a reflection of the efforts of our great coaching staff and amazing group of young men that make up our football team," King said. "Receiving this recognition from the Chiefs organization is a great honor and to have this award now be associated with a great coach and mentor like Eric Driskell makes it an even greater honor. It was an amazing year and I want to thank my coaching staff and our football team for all of their efforts."
Before taking over as head coach in 2013, King spent four years as an assistant coach for the Wildcats. He has recorded a 26-24 record during his five years as head coach. A Kansas native, King has had stints at Royal Valley High School, Onaga High School and Rock Creek High school before arriving at De Soto High School. King also serves as the head strength and conditioning coach at De Soto.
Prior to the 2017 season, the Chiefs announced the Kansas High School Coach of the Year Award would be renamed in memory of Eric Driskell, the former coach at Blue Valley High School. Driskell was a three- time award recipient during his seven years with the football program and spent 14 years as the head coach of the boys' track and field teams. Driskell suddenly passed away in mid-February.
Phil Lite and Brian King were selected by a poll comprised of their respective state's 2017 Missouri and Kansas Coach of the Week winners. Throughout the fall, the Chiefs recognized a different coach on each side of the state line that set a benchmark among his profession. As a result, the winning coaches received a $500 player health and safety grant from the Hunt Family Foundation and each schooled received a Gatorade Sideline Kit, including coolers, bottles and Gatorade footballs. Additionally, both coaches were presented congratulatory footballs autographed by Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid and a certificate recognizing their selection. The 2017 High School Coach of the Year fueled by Gatorade is a joint initiative of the Kansas City Chiefs and the National Football League. It is designed to recognize and reward Kansas City area high school coaches who are shaping today's youth and tomorrow's leaders. This includes coaches that champion philosophies which advance and promote player health and safety.