Howard Brown and his McCluer South-Berkeley High School football team don’t have the kind of resources that most other high schools in America have. After receiving a touching letter about Coach Brown and how he’s impacting the lives of at-risk teens, Ellen Degeneres decided to step in and create some positive waves herself.

Brown, who has been coaching the Ferguson, Missouri team for 15 years, has taken it upon himself to buy food, uniforms and football equipment so his players can take part in a sport they love while staying out of trouble.

Brown told Ellen that many of his players come from low-income homes, but that doesn’t have to negatively shape their future.

“Every single day, it’s a struggle for these young men,” Brown said, but then added “every single day is an amazing opportunity … to show that you’re not a product of the environment.”

Because of his dedication to keeping young men away from violence, drugs and other dangerous situations, Ellen surprised Brown and the team with a $25,000 check, thanks to the CW Television Network and its promotion of the show, “All American,” which chronicles a high school team in south Los Angeles.

Brown doesn’t cut any players from McCluer South-Berkeley High School regardless of skill level. The only thing he asks is that they be good citizens and dedicated students. And, it’s made a world of difference.

“Coach B is a wonderful guy. I didn’t have a father in my life. Coach B stepped into my life and he became a father to me,” a player named Eric said. “He’s the best thing ever. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I’d be right now.”

That’s why it was a no-brainer for Ellen to dish out some very helpful money.

The team thought they were gathered to be interviewed by Ellen producers over video, but the daytime host surprised the them by appearing on screen and sending corespondent Jeannie Klisiewicz to give the check. Here’s the full clip:


Brown is leading a very successful team on the field, too. They clinched their third straight conference title last weekend.