ROACHDALE -- When North Putnam football coach Greg Barrett was announced as the Indianapolis Colts Coach of the Week, it didn't come as exactly a shock to anyone who follows high school football in the area.
Barrett's Cougars sit at 6-0 and are ranked 4th in the Class 2A AP media poll. They are one of several teams in a stacked 2A field getting some buzz for playing deep into November.
However, winning Coach of the Week is about a lot more than onfield performance. All high school coaches in the state are eligible, and they are evaluated on the coach's impact on his team, school and community, in addition to how the ball bounces on Friday night.
"It's a great program because it's not always just about winning; it's about developing young athletes for the rest of their life," said Colts Youth Football Commissioner Mike Prior.
These factors put the award right up the third-year coach's alley.
"We preach character development all the time," Barrett said. "We have community service projects we like to get involved with, whether it's Habitat for Humanity or a church organization or helping a grandma move a piece of furniture -- just something simple like that.
"We're talking to our kids constantly about doing the right thing, doing your best and treating people the way you like to be treated," he continued. "That's kind of the mindset of this group of kids. They've come a long way, I think, from my first year being here, to doing what's right constantly."
Prior, a 13-year NFL veteran and Super Bowl champion, presented Barrett with a certificate signed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Colts' President Bill Polian, Colts' Coach Jim Caldwell and Prior. The football program also receives a $2,000 grant, half of which comes from the NFL Youth Football Fund, and the other half of which comes from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Barrett and the other 11 coaches honored this season will attend a Colts practice where they will meet Polian and eat with the team. They will also be honored following halftime of the Dec. 18 game when the Colts host Jacksonville.
He also shared with the assembled convocation of Cougar athletes lessons he learned about dedication and hard work from his earliest days of playing sports.
"Prepare yourself," Prior said. "You don't know when your chance is going to come. If you're giving 100 percent at the things you need to do, things are going to work out for you."
His message went right along with what Barrett tries to instill in his athletes.
"We talk about taking care of things in the classroom, and that correlates to things on the field. Taking care of things in the community and being a better person -- it's all going to show up on the game field on a Friday night," Barrett said. "I think those guys are starting to understand that. Those little pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall in place."
"We're hoping we have a lot more games to play here, regular season plus the playoffs," he said. "Our goal is to be a state champion, there's no doubt about that. We have little goals that we need to take care of along the way, but if you can't do the little things, it's going to be hard to reach those goals. So we preach about the little things: doing what's right, doing your best."
The award is even more special in that Barrett's brother Chris, head coach at Terre Haute North, received the same honor in 2005. Greg was an assistant coach for the Patriots at the time.
They are the first pair of brothers to be honored with the award.
"He puts in a lot of time for all of the right reasons," Chris said. "He is very passionate about football and kids and the things he does are student-centered, not for him to get awards. That being said, it is nice to see him get recognized for his accomplishments and hard work."
Greg gave his brother much of the credit for this week's award.
"We do a lot of the same things. I stole a lot of his ideas, especially when it comes to character development, so it's an honor, and it's a pretty neat thing around the household," Greg said.
Chris said it is a two-way street, though.
"I appreciate his acknowledgement of my contribution to his success but he is a student of the game and is constantly studying the game," Chris said. "Anything he has taken from me I have taken from our dad or other coaches. We constantly collaborate and I have taken as much from him as he has taken from me."
The Barretts' father Jay was the longtime football coach at Terre Haute Schulte, Rockville and West Vigo.
North Putnam travels to Monrovia Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.