A high school football coach who has dedicated his career to steering at-risk youth down a positive path was awarded thousands of dollars for his program by Ellen DeGeneres after his players wrote a touching letter explaining how important he is to them.
Howard Brown coaches football at McCluer South-Berkeley High School in Ferguson, Missouri, and has devoted much of his 15 years there helping his young players transition to responsible men. This dedication has led Brown to use his own money to purchase things like food, uniforms and other gear for the team, according to KSDK.
Brown’s selflessness has not gone unnoticed by his players and community, and this prompted someone to write a letter to The Ellen DeGeneres Show on his behalf, touting all that he has done for his team.
“… In his 15 years as a coach, he has made it his life’s work to change the lives of at-risk youth in our community. He treats these kids as his own and will do anything to make sure they feel loved,” the letter reads, in part.
“His players don’t have much and so Coach B uses his own money to provide food, uniforms, and gear for them. Many of his players don’t have positive male role models and consider Coach B their father.”
Continues the heartfelt letter: “Because of him — these kids are beating incredible odds. Coach B doesn’t just teach boys football — he teaches them life.”
This week, Coach Brown and his team appeared on Ellen, where they were surprised with a $25,000 donation to their program, thanks to a partnership with CW’s new high school football show, “All American.”
Once there, Brown’s players spoke about how much his mentorship has helped them.
“I didn’t have a father in my life none of my years; Coach B stepped into my life and became a father to me,” Erik Morten said. “If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I would be right now. All of the coaches, I love every single one of them.”
This was echoed by player Delano Nettles, who said Brown helped him control his emotions and feel confident in himself.
“Coach B is an amazing person,” he said. “Since I got here I had anger issues, and he helped me with coping skills and tells me every day I can be great, and helped me with different ways to release my anger other than violence.”
Brown said the money will help him continue his mission of giving the kids in his community a better future — one they can build regardless of where they are from.
“Every single day, it’s a struggle for these young men,” Brown told DeGeneres. “Every single day is an amazing opportunity … to show that you’re not a product of the environment.”