MIAMI (WSVN) - A former high school basketball coach who made a difference in the lives of players he trained was delivered a generous gift by his former players.

Former athletes from Miami Edison Senior High School came together 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 is a great guy. He is more than just a coach,” said Coach Burke’s former player, Carline Ofelus. “He is a second father that we didn’t know we were going to have but we need.”

But the surprises kept coming, the Lady Red Raider players got their former mentor a car as a token of their appreciation.

A huge gift for a man who played a significant role in their lives.

“This guy was just a security guard who would volunteer his time to teach us basketball fundamentals,” said Former WNBA player, Marie Ferdinand Harris, “and we bought into his system and his plan, and we were able to build our skills and improve our basketball ability to where we end up getting scholarships.”

Burke volunteered his time to help young ladies get further in life.

“I do it with a passion. I don’t have to get paid to do it. I just do it because if I can teach you the fundamental aspects of life,” said Burke, “then I think it will give you a broader way to help you get to where you need to get in life.”

The ladies celebrated the surprise along with Burke and took pictures in front of the car.

Burke loved the surprise that was gifted to him by his athletes, but he was more proud of the women they had become on and off the court.

“It’s an honor and a blessing to have young ladies that not everybody made it to the WNBA,” said Burke. “I have girls that have PhDs, master’s, and that’s better than any WNBA because,you raise kids like you want, like their yours, like my daughters.”

The new car will give Burke a new opportunity to coach future generations and continue to support the youth in the community.

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