Alumni support of East Tech champs ‘meant more than a title’

Rhonda Crowder | 3/28/2014, 1:25 p.m.

By Athletic Commissioner Leonard B. Jackson

Cleveland Metropolitan School District

As Commissioner of Athletics in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for the last 33 years, I know I speak for many when I express my pride in the East Tech Boys Basketball Team. Their advancement last week to the Final Four in Columbus brought honor and recognition to their school and to their city that will long be remembered.

To Coach Brett Moore, we owe a debt of gratitude for the skills, sportsmanship and pride he developed in these young athletes and for the exemplary leadership that led to their success and serves as a model for our youth.

Thank you to the faculty, staff, administration and to the Cleveland community who celebrated every moment of the journey with us and who continue to play an important role in the lives of our students every day.

And words cannot express the gratitude I feel to East Tech alumni for the extraordinary part they played in making this an unforgettable championship season in Cleveland.

Nowhere was the pride in our athletes’ accomplishment more evident that in the number of East Tech alumni that came to the school, attended the pep rally and traveled to Columbus to support the young men who were walking in their footsteps. East Tech champions spanning more than five decades reached out to our young champs to share a joy they know well—the joy that comes with rising to the top to compete with the best in the state. They know what it means to play for a city school district and, against the odds, make it to the Final Four.

When East Tech won the regional championship, it meant more than a chance at a state title. For many in Cleveland, it was a legacy renewed—a long-awaited chance to celebrate a tradition at East Tech that, starting in 1956, led to 10 Final Four trips in 16 years for the Scarabs.

The emotional impact of seeing alumni greats like Ike Smith (’58), Lamoyne Porter (’59) Van Glenn Neal (’72), Robert Lucas (’72) and Antonio Bolden (’72) returning to East Tech to cheer on the Scarabs will stay with today’s East Tech athletes for a lifetime. Their presence and support was a gift far greater than any trophy for the boys on the East Tech team.

What they taught the younger Scarabs this week was that winning games and vying for championships is about far more than trophies and titles. It’s about character, humility, hope, fellowship and possibility—all virtues that will last forever and will never need dusting.