Joe Palka of Saline High School named the Detroit Lions High School Football Coach of the Week

Detroit, MI —The Detroit Lions have named Joe Palka of Saline High School the week one recipient of the 2023 High School Football Coach of the Week Program. Palka’s Hornets kicked off the season with a convincing 42-3 victory over the Brighton Bulldogs. Saline is currently ranked No. 6 in Division 1. On Friday, September 1st, Saline hosts their 1st home game of 2023 as the Dexter Dreadnaughts come to town for the 54th matchup all-time between these two programs.   

Palka is in his 32nd season coaching football, 28th season as head coach, and in his 12th season as head coach at Saline where he has compiled a 105-20 overall record while leading the Hornets to the playoffs each of his 11 seasons. Last season, Saline finished 8-3 falling to the Division 1 State Champion Belleville Tigers in the district finals. He has coached collegiately at Eastern Michigan, St. Joseph (IN) College and Adrian College while also serving as a high school head coach at Petersburg Summerfield HS, Toledo Catholic Central HS, Bryan (OH) HS, and Toledo Whitmer HS. Palka is currently a physical education teacher at Saline High School.

Detroit Lions Football Education sat down with Joe Palka to talk the Hornets upcoming season, what he is looking for from his team between Week 1 and Week 2 and what it is like to coach the No. 1 ranked player in Michigan for the 2024 class. Palka was also informed of his Coach of the Week selection on Head Coach Hangout. See his reaction and the entire interview by visiting

High School Football Coach of the Week Program

Each week throughout the 2023 high school football regular season, one coach that best demonstrates success on and off the field, develops players’ character, discipline, and football skill in addition to emphasizing player health and safety in their program, will be recognized for his commitment to the team, school, and community. The winner is selected by a panel of high school football media members—Mick McCabe (Detroit Free Press), Hugh Bernreuter (Saginaw News), Bret Bakita (WOOD Radio-106.9 FM, 96.1 FM- The Game, Fox 17/Grand Rapids), James Cook (Traverse City Record-Eagle) and Scott DeCamp (CatchMark SportsNet).

This season’s program will award $12,000 to aid in the development and promotion of high school football in the state of Michigan, thanks to contributions from the Detroit Lions and the NFL Foundation. 

Each winning coach during the regular season will receive a $1,000 donation to his school’s football program. At the conclusion of the 2023 Michigan High School Football season, the Lions will also select the High School Football Coach of the Year. This season’s Coach of the Year will receive a $3,000 donation to his school’s football program. All winners will receive a certificate signed by Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

Currently in its’ 27th year, the Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week program has awarded $491,000 to high school football programs throughout the state of Michigan. For more information on the High School Coach of the Week program, contact Chris Fritzsching, Lions’ Executive Director of Football Education, at [email protected].

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