Throughout life many men and women come into your life, but few have an impact on things around you for the rest of your life like a Coach. Coaches are here to impart life lessons, morals, and character in every player they are allowed to coach. Sometimes it works other times it does not, but with my coach every player was giving something to base their life on, and could never say, Coach Andre Thomas rest in peace never gave them anything.
Coach Andre Thomas coached me and hundreds of other young men and women at Chicago’s Hyde Park Career academy H.S.; he was the head football head coach. From the day I walked into the school to the time I walked out for graduation, Coach T as we called him was there for me, my football family, and countless of other students. If you needed lunch, school supplies, or when classes became tough he would get you the help needed.
On the football field he was a mastermind and getting you to the point to win every game, but did we win every game? Not always but just being in a position to win is all that is required, the rest is up to us. I remember sitting in the players’ room listening to his voice on a tape recorder, telling us the plays and tendencies of the other team. His voice was strong and unmistakable, and as he got older no matter where you were in the stadium when he yelled out the other teams plays you could hear him a block away.
Coach T was like no other coach but got his coaching skills from various coaches in the Chicago Public schools long list of great coaches. But the majority of his lessons were taught to him by the late great Simeon Football coach Al Scott. I am grateful and knew how much he valued my opinion when he asked me to write him a letter of recommendation to the Illinois coaches association hall of fame.