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New NFL Hall of Famers: Tuckahoe Coach Weighs In

Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk and Shannon Sharpe each singled out his high school football coach Saturday among those who were the most important influences in their lives, when the trio was inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame.

Sanders’ acceptance speech was highlighted by his comments on how influential his high school football coach was in his development.

“(I want to thank) Coach Ron Hoover, my high school coach, for kicking me off the team my junior year. Although I was the starting quarterback, that taught me a valuable lesson,” Sanders recalled. “But to this day, I still wasn't insubordinate in that cafeteria. I promise you, I wasn't. I don't know what that lady was talking about. For real.”

Ossining High School’s Dan Ricci, who has coached football and girls’ basketball, said a coach’s focus should be preparing players for their futures.

“I have had several athletes that have told me I helped them become the person they are,” Ricci said. “And that is the number one reason why I coach. Helping kids become better people is why we coach.”

Faulk, a graduate of New Orleans’ George Washington Carver Senior High, called his high school coach Wayne Reese “special.”

“Coach, I want to tell you, you taught me responsibility,” Faulk said. “You taught me that everything in life costs something. It simply depends on what I was willing to spend on it, coach. Thank you for helping me choose a university. You explained to me the importance of choosing a school that was going to challenge me academically, as well as assist and molding me into the best football player that I could be.”

Tuckahoe assistant coach John D’Arco said he believes young athletes know their coaches are also teachers.

“Yes, I think by the time the kids hit college age they realize,” D’Arco said. “The majority of them are very grateful for the life lessons we try and teach them. It’s very rewarding as a coach when you have an athlete come back and thank you. It shows that we had a positive influence on their life.”

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