The Atlanta Falcons Coach of the Week program recognizes 12 high school football coaches across the state of Georgia for their hard work and dedication to making a difference in student-athletes' lives on and off the field over the course of the season. The ninth winner of the 2017 season Niketa Battle of Mays High School in Atlanta.
Battle was nominated by I.J. Rosenberg of Score Atlanta. Upon hearing about his selection as the Atlanta Falcons Coach of the Week, the selfless Battle thought about his student-athletes and coaching staff first.
"Well, the first thing I thought about were the kids," Battle said. "They have put in so much hard work, and also, my coaching staff. I told them that it is their award because we collectively work together."
Battle is in his second season at the helm of the Raiders and has compiled an 18-3 record thus far. Last season, Mays finished with an 11-2 record and made it to the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. This season, the second-ranked Raiders dropped their opener against Stockbridge before reeling off seven wins in a row including three shutout victories.
"We just need to continue to get better each game," Battle said. "That has been the motto. I think the first game maybe the kids came out and had some jitters. Once they kind of got settled, going into the region, I think the play curve for the kids has increased tremendously. We want to get better each week and just treat every game like a state championship game."
Mays will face Alexander and Northgate in its final two games of the season before entering the Class AAAAAA playoffs with a deep run in mind. But, for Battle, it is about day-to-day improvement.
"We continue to build this program daily," he said. "Coming in early and leaving late. We continue to build on that each year. The only thing that I really brought change to were my kids and their offseason workout routine. Our kids have bought into that and our kids want to get bigger, faster and stronger."
Each week, one coach will be selected to be the Atlanta Falcons Coach of the Week based on his commitment to his team, community and player safety. The winning coach will receive a $1,000 equipment grant, a commemorative football and tickets to an Atlanta Falcons home game.
To nominate a coach, go to AtlantaFalcons.com/CoachoftheWeek. Rolling nominations will be accepted until Nov. 1.