Lions Honor Joe Palka as High School Football Coach of the Week


The Detroit Lions have rolled out the first of their weekly accolades for the 2023 high school football season, naming Joe Palka of Saline High School as the High School Football Coach of the Week for Week One. Palka led his Saline Hornets to a dominant 42-3 win over the Brighton Bulldogs. Fans can look forward to Saline’s first home game on September 1, where they’ll face off against the Dexter Dreadnaughts in the programs’ 54th matchup.

A Storied Career in Coaching

In his 32nd year of coaching football and 28th as a head coach, Palka is no stranger to success. He’s in his 12th season at Saline High School, boasting an impressive 105-20 overall record. Under his guidance, the Hornets have made playoff appearances every season. Last year, the team ended 8-3, bowing out to the Division 1 State Champion Belleville Tigers in the district finals. Palka has also had coaching stints at the collegiate level and other high schools. Currently, he serves as a physical education teacher at Saline High School.

Media Interview and Reaction

Detroit Lions Football Education had the opportunity to speak with Palka about Saline’s upcoming season, his expectations for the team between Weeks 1 and 2, and coaching Michigan’s top-ranked player for the 2024 class, C.J, Carr. Carr is a 6-3, 210 lb. senior quarterback who is commited to play next year at Notre Dame. The Coach of the Week announcement was made on Head Coach Hangout, where Palka’s reaction and the full interview are available at

Program Details and Future Awards

The Coach of the Week Program acknowledges coaches demonstrating success on and off the field. This includes player development, character building, and emphasizing health and safety. The selection panel consists of high school football media veterans.

Through the 2023 season, the program will distribute $12,000 to benefit high school football in Michigan, courtesy of the Detroit Lions and the NFL Foundation. Each weekly winner earns a $1,000 donation to their school’s football program. At season’s end, a Coach of the Year will receive a $3,000 donation. Certificates for each award will bear the signatures of Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Since its inception 27 years ago, the program has funneled $491,000 into Michigan high school football. For more information, reach out to Chris Fritzsching, Lions Executive Director of Football Education, at

About the NFL Foundation

The NFL Foundation is a nonprofit committed to enhancing lives impacted by football at all levels. It represents the 32 NFL clubs and focuses on the health, safety, and community outreach.


For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21


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Original Photo Credit: © Mandi Wright / USA TODAY NETWORK