Umatilla coaches in running for award, donation

Umatilla coaches Dan Durfey, left, and Scott Bow are among the national top 50 nominees in U.S. Cellular's Most Valuable Coach Program.

Two Umatilla High School coaches could use your vote.

Dan Durfey (football) and Scott Bow (boys basketball) were nominated for the U.S. Cellular’s Most Valuable Coach program.

The program, which began Aug. 21, gave people the opportunity to nominate current K-12 school-affiliated coaches in its markets who inspire their players and are leaders in their schools and communities.

Bow said he and Durfey each received an email with “you have been nominated” in the subject line.

“Neither Dan nor I really responded to it,” Bow said. “As the deadline got closer, they called us. We found out someone took the time to nominate us. It’s a great publicity thing for Umatilla High School. It’s just cool to be honored.”

Dane Yancey, the local marketing and brand activation manager for U.S. Cellular in the Northwest, said coaches nationwide were nominated for the program, and out of hundreds of submissions, the top 50 were chosen.

“We break it down into how they impact their school, athletes and community,” said Yancey, who is based in Richland. “We look at their leadership, if they go above and beyond, and connect with their players. For there to be two from one school is rare. It’s the first time in the past three years.”

The top 15 coaches earning the most votes will be announced on Oct. 11, and they will advance to the final round of voting. U.S. Cellular will donate $5,000 to their schools.

In a school of Umatilla’s size, $5,000 or $10,000 can go a long way.

“There are a lot of things we could do with $5,000,” Bow said. “We are looking at purchasing new football and baseball scoreboards. That money would help.”

Durfey, who is in his third year with the Vikings, said any amount would benefit the school.

“I haven’t really thought what we could do with the money,” he said. “My thoughts are there are so many places we could use it.”

Once the final 15 are announced, the list will be cut down to the top three. First place is worth $50,000, plus a $30,000 package from Samsung. Second place is $20,000, while third place is worth $10,000.

“The Samsung package will be customized based on the needs of the school,” Yancey said. “Whether it be tablets for students, TVs, or computers. They will partner with the school to best meet their needs.”

People still have six days to vote for Bow and Durfey. Neither are in the top 15 at the moment, but that could change with a few key strokes. Voting can be done at https://www.themostvaluablecoach.com.

People can vote for their favorite coaches among the top 50 nominees through 9:59 a.m. on Oct. 8.

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