Former High School Basketball Team Surprised Volunteer Coach Who Changed Their Lives
An ex-volunteer basketball coach got the surprise of his life when his former players turned up for an impromptu pick-up game.
Before "retiring" and becoming a full time nurse to support his family, Phil Santavenere, 45, was not only a coach to underprivileged high school kids, but a mentor, and a source of support.
" I didn't have someone to look up to guide me," one former student, Victor Anderson, said in a video tribute. "Phil made me believe. I never had that before."
With the help of Kleenex, Anderson wanted to throw a surprise for his former basketball coach.
Anderson, 25, is an actor in Los Angeles, and credits the former coach with helping him leave the projects, Kleenex told InsideEdition.com.
Andre Drummond, a professional player for the Detroit Pistons and nephew to Santavenere, was one of the many teenagers Santavenere once coached. He said in the video" "He brought me to who I am now. I feel like he hasn't gotten enough credit for what he's done."
Anderson said in the video that Santavenere thought he was having lunch with another coach in Hartford, Connecticut, when he was brought to the parking lot, and Anderson greeted him with a basketball in hand.
Santavenere was then surprised when various players he once coached stood before him on a basketball court drawn in chalk.
"You were more than a coach to us. You were a father figure," Anderson said on behalf of his teammates. "You went above and beyond anyone we've ever known, so we just wanted to say thank you"
"I'm glad I played a positive role in their life. They gave me laughs and memories and I'm glad I gave them laughs and memories," Santavenere said as he continued coaching his team the rest of the afternoon.