PHOENIX - A Phoenix high school football coach who once played for the Philadelphia Eagles has an inspiring story of hard work, dedication, and most importantly, giving back to the community.
"They need to know: ‘hey, if Coach Evans can come out here, I can come out here,’" said Byron Evans.
These days, Evans is a superstar at South Mountain High School, where he is the head football coach. It is a role that Evans takes pride in, showing his students that anything is possible.
For Coach Evans, South Mountain High School is more than just his workplace. In a way, it's his home.
"When you come home everything is where you want it, where you need it to be, and excited about the opportunity to be back here," said Coach Evans.
Coach Evans was once a linebacker for South Mountain High School. He was also the school's Homecoming King one year. After high school, he played for the University of Arizona, where he racked up some impressive stats.
"I broke a 20-year record for assisted tackles. Led the Pac 10 (as it was known back then), led them in tackles," said Coach Evans.
Then the opportunity to play pro. Coach Evans was drafted in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1987.
"I played on one of the most successful defenses of all time," Coach Evans recounted. "The 1991 defenses where we were first in yards, first in sacks, first in passing yards, all that good stuff."
During Coach Evans' eight seasons with the Eagles, the team made it to the playoffs, but not the big game. That, however, doesn’t make him any less of a champion.
"Favorite part is giving people hope," said Coach Evans.
These days, Coach Evans is working to win over the hearts and minds of students every day, proving they can achieve their dreams.
"The word says ‘unto whom much is given, much is also required,’" said Coach Evans. "My story is not unlike these kids whom I coach. They often say, ‘coach, you sound like us,’ and I say, I am you. I am no different than you, just fast-forward. I have a message, I have a story, and they need to hear it"
With his career, it is perhaps not surprising which team Coach Evans will be cheering for.
"Eagles all day, every day!" said Coach Evans.
As for the Super Bowl, Coach Evans predicts the Eagles will win, 28 to 17.
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