2017 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year.
All those encompass and exemplify who Crenshaw High School's Robert Garrett is.
As Crenshaw's head football coach, Garrett's had a whirlwind couple months. He was named the Chargers' Coach of the Year nominee in December and found out he won the award at the Pro Bowl in January. From there, he attended NFL Honors and other Super Bowl-themed activities in Minneapolis just a couple weeks ago, and on Thursday, was honored at Crenshaw in a full-school pep rally.
Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn as well as former Charger and current NFL Director Youth & High School Football, Roman Oben, were both on hand to present Garrett with $25,000 from the NFL Foundation, $15,000 of which will go to his high school's football program.
"I feel really honored," Garrett said. "It's a great accomplishment to be on this stage and be mentioned with the National Football League because it's a phenomenal organization. I feel really honored to be in the forefront of the NFL."
"It's about how you lead and what values you stand for," added Oben. "When you meet a guy like Coach Garrett, I met him for five minutes and I was impressed. The way he carries himself; his charisma. Being honest, in this type of community, you have to lead a little differently given the societal complexities. That's even more rewarding to know that he deserved to win."
Garrett won the award over 31 coaches nominated by each NFL team for displaying integrity, achievement, and leadership exemplified by the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula.
"It's really about maximizing your ability," continued Oben. "That's what Don Shula stood for. If you've been around Don Shula, his family, his values and what his name stands for, it's even more impressive. Crenshaw High School is now affiliated with Don Shula."
Last season, Garrett led the Crenshaw Cougars to an impressive 12-3 record including a 5-0 record in tough league play. Their roster was shorthanded most of the year, but with the guidance of Garrett and careful help of Sports Medicine Instructor, Ellen Kelly, the team ultimately won a 46-43 shootout over Placer High School to win the 2017 CIF Division 4-AA State Championship.
"It makes me proud to go here," mentioned senior Nygel Lewis. "I grew up in this system. To come here, I knew what it was when I got here. I wanted to win something. We came to win a championship and do something great, and I felt like we did that this year by winning state."
But while the accolades on the field mean a lot, the impact Garrett has off of it is even greater. Just ask his students.
"That man is someone who actually cares," Lewis continued. "A lot of people don't understand that. You'll get the more brutal side of him with football, but when you're sitting with him in practice or in film sessions, it's bigger than football. We've had talks about a lot of different things; how to raise us, how to be good men. A lot of us don't have father figures in our lives so he's actually stepped up for a lot of players. He loves you, but it's tough love. But growing up in our society, you need tough love. You need someone to tell you when you're right and you're wrong."
"He's a real mentor and another father figure," added fellow senior Mark Martin. "He's very helpful. When things are going bad, it's always positive with him. He'll tell you the truth. The truth might hurt, but it's always helpful and he's very boosting. He'll help you out."
The Los Angeles Chargers held a check presentation at Crenshaw High School for NFL Don Shula Coach of the Year Robert Garrett.