The feel-good moment of the year in college football has to be the San Jose University football team’s surprise appearance on the hit ABC talk show, “Ellen.”
DeGeneres was so impressed with the dance moves of running back Coach Alonzo Carter and the Spartans’ Beyond Football program that she featured them on her show Tuesday and gave the program a $25,000 check to support its community service efforts.
“I love this coach. I love this team. I love his dancing,” DeGeneres tweeted Tuesday.
It’s a reminder — and boy did we ever need one — of the positive impact college athletics can have on players and a community.
Take five minutes to watch the video. We dare you to walk away without a smile on your face and a greater appreciation of the impact SJSU Coach Brent Brennan and running backs Coach Alonzo Carter are having on the team and the community through the Beyond Football program.
The program calls on every player to get involved in community service — 750 hours, as of this week — visiting schools and doing volunteer work. The players also connect with Silicon Valley firms, attend job fairs and seek internships to prepare for successful careers.
This is Brennan’s first year as the Spartans’ head coach. He said Wednesday that he knew from day 1 he wanted Carter on his staff. To say that Carter has a unique background is an understatement. He’s a former MC Hammer backup dancer who also was a successful coach at Oakland’s McClymonds High and Contra Costa College.
Carter’s passion is developing relationships with players and motivating them to make something of their lives.
Brennan likes to have a DJ play music before and after Spartan practices. After a particularly good spring practice in April, Brennan had the DJ play Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” and enticed Carter to show off his moves.
Carter strutted his stuff, and the players went wild. Staff member Cam Radford caught the moment on film, and it went viral on YouTube.
DeGeneres learned about the video and the Beyond Football program and decided to feature the team on her show. But Brennan kept it a secret from Carter and the players, who thought they were just going to talk to one of the producers with the hope of making a later appearance.
When Ellen came on, well, for pure energy and excitement, “U Can’t Touch This.”
The Spartans have had a rough start this season, losing three of their first four games. And the university’s athletic department took a hit earlier this week when former basketball coach Dave Wojcik, who resigned in July, was sued by a former player alleging racial discrimination and homophobic remarks.
But Brennan and Carter have brought joy to San Jose State’s football program and cultivated a spirit that encourages players to engage with their communities and work toward success beyond football.
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