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October 19, 2017

Carolina Panthers Announce Swain County High School’s Neil Blankenship as Coach of the Week

The Carolina Panthers and Toshiba are proud to announce the selection of Coach
Neil Blankenship of Swain County High School (Bryson City, NC) as a recipient of the team’s High
School Coach of the Week honor for the 2017 season. Coach Neil Blankenship is in his fifth
season as the Maroon Devil’s head football coach.
Coach Blankenship and his Maroon Devil football team are the pride and joy of the Bryson City –
Swain County community. Under the leadership of Coach Blankenship, the Maroon Devils are 52-
21 and 10-5 in 1AA playoffs. The team has made it to the 1AA Western Regional Finals three
years in a row and earned NCHSAA 1AA runner-up honors in 2012 while posting a 15-1 record.
Coach Blankenship’s hard work does not go unnoticed. He has twice been named the Smoky
Mountain Conference Coach of the Year.
Off the field, Blankenship plays an active role in serving as a mentor to his players. He takes pride
in his players and makes a concerted effort to make sure his student-athletes are succeeding not
only athletically but also academically. “Coach Blankenship keeps an eye on what his players are
doing outside of the game of football and routinely talks to them about their responsibilities as
young men,” said Swain County community schools coordinator Toby Burrell.
In recognition of Coach Blankenship’s contributions to his school and community, the Carolina
Panthers and Toshiba will donate $1,000 to Swain County High School to support the school’s
athletic department. Coach Blankenship and the other 2017 Carolina Panthers High School
Coach of the Week honorees will all be recognized when the Panthers take on the Green Bay
Packers later this season.
The 2017 High School Coach of the Week program presented by Toshiba is a joint initiative of
the Carolina Panthers and the National Football League. The program is designed to recognize
North and South Carolina high school coaches who make positive impacts in the lives of their
student-athletes and their school communities, while promoting player health and safety.
All High School football coaches throughout the Carolinas are encouraged to apply for the High
School Football Coach of the week program, regardless of size, division, organization or league.
Evaluations of coaches are based off impact towards their community, schools, and individuals.

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