Transcript for Inspiring Football Coach and Team Get Epic Surprise
stay at home for this. Sit the season of giving and we're kick off thank you, America, our special series saluting people who is gone the extra mile to make a difference today. Like josh just did for me. We have a football coach who came out of retirement, turning around a high school team and the lives of students in one Michigan town that this woman knows all too well. T.j. Holmes is at Benton harbor high. That's where my mom went to high school. T.j.? Ror good morning, happy birthday, as well. I want two special young men here. Percy and Jeremy will help me pull off this surprise today that you won't believe. Look who is helping us. The entire football team at Benton harbor and the entire student body is helping us out. We radioed down to have coach U. Make his way to the gym. I have to get him. He has no idea this is going on, robin. He has no idea, so come on out. And there he is. Coach Uzelac. Did you say oh, my gosh? This is T.J. Holmes. You're live. You knew something was up, didn't you? I did. Reporter: They told me you're a smart man. I'm not that smart. Believe me. I'm a very blessed man. Reporter: You know there's an assembly going on. I doint know that. Reporter: It's for you. Well, it shouldn't be. Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. Reporter: They have something they want to say to you. All: Thank you, coach! Reporter: Now -- come on, come on, coach. Oh, man. Reporter: This is all for you. I can't believe this. Reporter: Isn't this something? Unbelievable. Reporter: Now, coach, this -- this is only the beginning. All right? This is only the beginning. So -- I want your entire team, fellas, come on down. Come on out here. Come on out here. Reporter: I want your entire team to come down. Reporter: Now -- You better look good. Reporter: Now, coach, I want you to turn around here. Everybody stay with me. Stay with me. Turned around. Coach, I want you to look, look at the screen here. We got something we want you to see. Take a look. ? They went out every year expecting a miracle. But as they got midway through the season, you could see them starting to -- lose hope. We tried to get a win. But -- it wasn't happening. He had been retired for a couple of years. I said, Elliott, I think you're bored. And he said, well, yeah, kind of. I said, go to Benton harbor. They don't have anybody. They need somebody. Rehad not had a winning football season since 1989. But that all changed when coach Uzelac came to Benton harbor. Let's do it right today. Do it right. We needed him and he needed us. It was a perfect fit. Made in heaven. One, two, three. He said, we got a lot of work to do. We're going to work hard, work hard as team. We're going to get it done. You gotta attack it now. Next game, he said, y'all going to win. We won. We just kept winning. My main goal was to make it to the playoffs. We made to it the playoffs. A lot of our young men in the community are from single homes. A loft them have to -- help with their parents. And you know, they take on a different type of role. Step with the front side foot, here, boom. He motivated me to do better and he said he's going to get me to college no matter what I takes. He's like a grandfather. I would probably do anything for that man. Because of the things he did for me. And my team. It is unconditionally love. That's what separates him. With the passion. Hey, I need -- With the team. And how he treats them. Team is a team, man. We got respect. He respects us. We respect him. He's just opening doors for us. One, two, three. Tiger pride! Coach U., thank you for coming to bepten harbor high school and teaching us and being with us. And sticking with us. Reporter: All right. Coach, now -- now, we wanted to say thank you. We have something special here for you. I want to bring it in here now. We mapartnered with the deals app, retail me not. They've made a $10,000 donation for a scholarship in your name at Benton harbor high school. Oh, man, oh, man. Thank you very much. Reporter: No, thank you. In is overwhelming. It really is. And I -- I thank you for this. This will be great for our student athletes. And I hope this encourage LG all the students at Benton harbor. This is a great place with a lot of great people. We are the harbor. No doubt about it. And proud of it. Reporter: The winning was a by-product main what you did here. You made them work hard. You can't just -- you can't just work hard. You gotta play a little bit. So, the -- the kids right here, the football team, you all were in on this. But something you weren't in on. Every one of you is headed to Florida all expenses paid, going to Disney world. Every single one of you. Hey, hey. Reporter: Coach, coach. He's back there somewhere. T.j. Where'd coach go? We all got -- Reporter: Coach, a part of a thank you for what you have done, yes, you turned around a football team. But a community as well. So, this is part of our thank you, America series. We want to say thank you. Thank you very much. It means so much to these young men and -- we'll never forget this. Appreciate it very much. Reporter: Robin, George, I don't know if y'all can still hear me. I can't hear y'all. But, the kids are clearly excited. This is the way, we loved this story. To be able to say thank you. Enjoy, T.J. Enjoy with the team. Give them our absolute best. The harbor. Number 61 was really -- Scholarship's good, Disney world, whoa. How humbled is that coach? It's all about the kids the community. Paefrt fit for both of them. He needed them and vice versa. And you can hear the difference he's making. It's all part of the thank you America series. Leading up to Thanksgiving. All week long, similar stories like that.
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