Crenshaw High School's Robert Garrett is the ABC7 NFL High School Coach of the Year
CRENSHAW, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Crenshaw Cougars have a football program rich in tradition.
The team has earned 16 league titles and four city championships, and that's just under Head Coach Robert Garrett, who might have done his best coaching job yet in 2012.
"No one ever thought we'd be here, but us," said Garrett. "We believe and we'll continue to believe."
Garrett has had to do more with less this season, carrying only 30 players, which is about half of what he has some years.
"The numbers don't matter," Garrett said. "What matters is the heart, the precision, the dedication, the pride, the intensity, the execution."
With the smallest team he's had in 25 years, Garrett has led Crenshaw to Saturday night's city championship game against Narbonne, the nation's fourth-ranked team according to one poll.
Garrett calls it a great opportunity for this little engine that could.
"Great team, a lot of team effort, a lot of pride, a lot of intensity, a lot of hard work, a lot of togetherness, a lot of unity, a lot of hub-bub, a lot of fun, just a great experience, having a great time. [It's] the best time of my life," Garrett said.
While he's had tremendous success on the field as a coach, it's the difference he makes off the field that keeps him going. Last year, one of his players was living in a homeless shelter. Garrett helped that student stay on track, graduate with a 3.8 GPA and get accepted to the Air Force Academy.
"Just to see kids do well and come back is more inspiring to me, it gives me the energy to come back time and time again, because then I know hope is not lost," Garrett said. "Then I know something somewhere along the line is being done, and that inspired me to continue to work hard and try to help something along the way. Because when it's over, it's over."
He also thinks there's much more to learn from football than the game itself.
"I think you learn more about character, more about building relationships, you learn about integrity, you learn about hard work, you learn about endurance, you learn about all of those things that we take for granted, but you learn those things and you practice those things through football," he said.
And the kids at Crenshaw have learned it all through Robert Garrett, the ABC7 NFL High School Coach of The Year.
football, john hartung
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