MIAMI (WSVN) — A former high school basketball coach who made a difference in the lives of the players he trained has received a generous gift from his former players.
Former Miami Edison Senior High School athletes gathered at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami to surprise and honor their former coach John Burke or, as they know him, Coach Cro.
“He’s a great guy. He’s more than just a coach,” Coach Burke’s former player Carline Ofelus said. “He’s a second dad that we didn’t know we were going to have but which we need.”
But the surprises were linked, the players of Lady Red Raider offered a car to their former mentor as a sign of recognition.
A huge gift for a man who has played an important role in their life.
“This guy was just a security guard who volunteered his time to teach us the basics of basketball,” former WNBA player Marie Ferdinand Harris said, “and we bought into his system. and his plan, and we were able to develop our skills and improve our basketball ability to where we end up getting scholarships.
Burke has volunteered her time to help young girls go further in life.
“I do it with passion. I don’t need to be paid to do this. I just do it because if I can teach you the fundamentals of life,” Burke said, “then I think it will give you a bigger way to help you get where you need to go in life.
The ladies celebrated the surprise with Burke and took photos in front of the car.
Burke loved the surprise his athletes gave him, but he was prouder of the women they had become on and off the field.
“It’s an honor and a blessing to have young girls who haven’t all made it to the WNBA,” Burke said. “I have daughters who have doctorates, master’s degrees, and that’s better than any WNBA because you’re raising kids the way you want, like yours, like my daughters.”
The new car will give Burke a new opportunity to train future generations and continue to support young people in the community.
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