Russell Athletic announced Central High School in Providence, Rhode Island as the 2015 “Fight Like Dylan Award” recipient. The award, celebrating its fifth year, honors high school programs around the nation that have demonstrated inspiring determination and perseverance through sports.

A distinguished panel of judges, led by former NFL coach, Tony Dungy, selected Central High School after reviewing hundreds of submissions sent in by coaches, administrators, community members, parents and former athletes from across the country. The Central football team, the Knights, and its supportive community epitomize what it means to persevere during adversity, said Russell Athletic.

fight-like-dylan-award“Each year there are numerous deserving high schools that make this decision difficult. We received hundreds of entries from across the country and the fifth year of the program proved to be just as tough selecting a winner,” said Robby Davis, senior VP and GM at Russell Athletic. “We are inspired by this team and all of the students, faculty and supporting community at Central High School. It is an honor to present this award to them.”

In 2015, the Knights reached the state playoffs and recorded their first winning season since 2011, while dealing with the tragic loss of one of their key players, overall funding and resource challenges, and navigating a variety of personal/family crises. The team has acted as a family for its players both on and off the field, providing both hope and opportunity.

“It’s tough to put into words how much this will mean to our players and overall community,” said Peter Rios, Central High School head football coach, athletic director and teacher. “We are so grateful to Russell Athletic and everyone involved with the ‘Fight Like Dylan Award’ to recognize us with this prestigious accolade.”

Central follows in the footsteps of the previous four recipients, all of whom have exemplified a dedication to overcoming obstacles and rallying their communities around a common goal. Each school has honored the memory of Dylan Rebeor, a high school football player whose last wish before passing away in 2011 was for his teammates to receive new uniforms.

“Stories like Central High School are the reason I got involved with this tremendous program, and am proud to partner with Russell Athletic to recognize the Knights this year,” said Dungy. “Among the hundreds of entries were numerous worthy candidates, all honoring Dylan’s life and the meaning of this award. The way that Central rallied the entire school and surrounding community was truly inspiring.”

To celebrate the award, select members of the Central Knights community are in Orlando and will receive the award during the Russell Athletic Bowl press conference on Monday, December 28. They will also be recognized on field during the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl on Tuesday, December 29, 2015, broadcast live on ESPN. The game will feature #10 North Carolina and #17 Baylor.

— Photos courtesy Russell Athletic. The 2015 Russell Athletic ‘Fight Like Dylan Award’ is presented to Central High School, Providence, R.I. during the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl Press Conference; L-R, Baylor University head coach Art Briles; Central High School football coach Peter Rios; Russell Athletic senior vice president, general manager Robby Davis; University of North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora.