Despite growing up a Cincinnati Bengals’ fan, Dan McSurley was never able to meet the legendary Paul Brown, founder of the NFL franchise.
On Tuesday, he experienced what may well be the next best thing.
McSurley, who is entering his 31st season as a football coach, was named the winner of the 2016 Paul Brown Excellence in Coaching Award. The award was presented Tuesday at the Bengals’ annual Pre-Training Camp media luncheon.
“It was unbelievable,” said McSurley, who has a 185-53 coaching record in his CM tenure. “I wasn’t expecting anything like that. I didn’t realize what they put in to, basically how time-consuming this award is. This is a real big deal to the Brown family. When I got here, I was kind of blown away.”
Bengals’ President Mike Brown, son of the football legend, presented McSurley with his award.
“It is very much our pleasure today to honor Dan and his family, as well as the entire Clinton-Massie community,” Brown said. “Dan’s record of accomplishments speaks for itself and more than 20 of his players have gone on to play college football.”
McSurley said he never realized the Browns are one of the few “family-owned” franchises in the NFL.
“It was fascinating to hear about their history,” said McSurley. “It was just a great experience. I got to meet Mike and Katie (Blackburn, the team’s Executive Vice President) and Paul (Brown, the team’s Vice President Player Personnel). The whole Bengals’ organization was real impressive. It took my breath away.”
McSurley’s Falcons teams won state championships in 2012 and 2013, and he earned Coach of the Year awards from the Ohio High School Athletic Association three times, in 1998, 2002 and 2010.
McSurley grew up in West Jefferson, Ohio, just east of Columbus. He is a graduate of West Jefferson High School and of Capital University in Columbus, and he played football at both schools. He started his teaching and coaching career in 1986 at Graham High School in St. Paris, Ohio. Dan and his wife Kristine have four children, Jacob (age 29), Jannelle (27), Lucas (25) and Joleen (20).
The award has been given annually by the Bengals since 2002. It honors outstanding high school football coaches in the region and includes a $5,000 Bengals donation to Clinton-Massie’s athletic department.
McSurley is the 15th winner of the Paul Brown Excellence in Coaching Award. Previous winners have been Nate Moore of La Salle (2014 season), Tim Goodwin of Marion Local (2013), Tom Crosby of Mariemont (2012), Bruce Kozerski of Covington Holy Cross (2011), Steve Klonne of Moeller (2010), Troy Everhart of Winton Woods (2009), Dale Mueller of Fort Thomas Highlands (2008), Jeff Giesting of Anderson (2007), Scott Datillo of Sycamore (2006), Steve Specht of St. Xavier (2005), Charles “Doc” Gamble of Withrow (2004), Doug Ramsey of Elder (2003), and Vince Suriano of Anderson and Mike Martin of Taft (2002 co-winners).