Ponte Vedra football coach Matt Toblin was a VIP guest at the NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando this past weekend as one of 32 nominees for the 2016 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award. Toblin was nominated for the national award by the Jacksonville Jaguars in January for his character, integrity, leadership, dedication to the community and his commitment to player safety and on-field success.
Randy Allen from Highland Park High School in Dallas ultimately won the award, as announced during the Pro Bowl Jan. 29. Toblin was nevertheless proud of the nomination.
“I was so proud of our kids and our coaching staff for all their hard work that made it possible for me to get the nomination,” said Toblin, who led the Sharks on a magical playoff run this past year that ended in a heartbreaking 35-33 loss to American Heritage High School in Ponte Vedra’s first ever-state championship appearance. “All individual awards are the result of a group effort, and I am so thankful for them.”
As a nominee for the award, Toblin visited Pro Bowl practices, participated in the USA Football National Conference and attended the Pro Bowl, itself, at Camping World Stadium. Jaguars Director of Player Development and Youth Football Marcus Pollard said Toblin is a perfect representative for the Jacksonville community.
“Coach Toblin pours his heart and soul into his football program and his players are better because of it,” said Pollard. “He is a symbol of hard work and dedication and puts others ahead of himself.”
Ponte Vedra quarterback Nick Tronti said Toblin is responsible for transforming the Ponte Vedra football program.
“I can’t tell you how many things I’ve learned from him,” said Tronti. “He loves football, and he loves making an impact on other peoples’ lives. He’s truly changed my life.”
Toblin has 15 years of coaching experience, including the last three as the head coach at Ponte Vedra where he has accumulated a 24-11 record. He previously coached at Southern Oregon University as a defensive coordinator and Clay High School as head coach, leading the Blue Devils to back-to-back district championships. Toblin started his coaching career at Nease High School, where he coached defensive backs and helped the Panthers win a state championship and advance to two others. A native of Jacksonville, he played high school football at Mandarin High School.