Good People Doing Good Things — Coach Sam Greiner

No matter how much angst we see in the world around us, no matter how many we hear and see who have naught but hate in their hearts, I never have a problem finding good people to write about for this weekly feature.  It always boosts my spirits to write about people who put their humanitarian values ahead of greed and self, and I hope it boosts yours to read about them.  I found a gem today … a man who … well, read on …


The place is Harding University High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The story begins back in August, 2015 when Harding High hired a new football coach, Sam Greiner, to try to revive their struggling team, one of the least successful in the area.  Coach Greiner was given a list of several players on his team whose poor grades had put them on the “ineligible to play” list.  One of those students was a young sophomore named Braheam Murphy.

Braheam had lived a tough life.  His mother had died of a brain aneurism when he was just five years old, and his father later remarried, but when he and his new wife had a daughter with cerebral palsy, there was no longer any place in the household for Braheam and his older sister, Dominique.  Braheam and Dominique began staying wherever they would be welcomed for a night or two, usually on the couches of friends.  In essence, they were homeless and somehow fell through the cracks in the child welfare system.

When Coach Greiner told Ibraheam that he would not be able to play that year, Ibraheam cried and said, “Coach, football is all I’ve got”. Ibraheam remained on the team, but unable to play.  Coach Greiner saw something special in Braheam and began giving him rides after school, sometimes to his job at a local convenience store, other times to one house or another, never the same house two times in a row.  He finally asked Braheam exactly where he lived, and the answer was, “I stay wherever my sister goes.”

Grenier-BraheamThe more Coach Greiner learned about Murphy’s circumstances, the more it disturbed him and one day he decided enough was enough, and in March of 2016, after consulting with his wife, Connie, as well as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Greiner asked Ibraheam to move in with him and his family.  By the end of 2016, Ibraheam’s grade point average (GPA) had risen from 1.8 to 3.7 and his eligibility to play football had been reinstated.

Then came May 2017, when Braheam received a scholarship to attend US Military Academy at West Point next year. Quite a leap from the homeless kid with failing grades.

Sam and Connie Greiner didn’t just provide food, clothing and shelter for young Braheam, but they gave him something even more important:  a sense of belonging, a sense of family. In speaking of the Greiner’s two small children, Charli and Journi, “They love him. That’s their brother. They don’t look at anything else — that’s their brother,” Connie Greiner said.

Murphy gets emotional when he speaks of the Greiners:  “They’re my family. And I can’t imagine where I would be without their support.”

Remember how I said that in 2015, the Harding High football team was among the worst in the area?  In 2015, they had won only one game, lost 10.  Just as Braheam’s GPA came from a limping 1.8 to near-perfect 3.7, just this week, the Harding High football team came from 1-10 in 2015 to 11-1 in 2017, and won the state championship!  And you know who earned the winning run?  You got it … none other than quarterback Braheam Murphy, sprinting 95 yards for a touchdown in the final minutes!

What Coach Sam Greiner gave to Braheam Murphy goes beyond a home, even beyond a family, for it may well be that Coach Greiner game Braheam a chance at life that he might never have otherwise had. And what is really impressive is that Greiner says it wasn’t he and his wife who gave to Braheam, but that Braheam was the one who gave them so much more.  I suspect both are true, and my hat is off to Coach Sam Greiner and his wife Connie, for being willing to take a chance on one homeless young man and give him the leg up he needed to go on for life, for greatness.

19 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Coach Sam Greiner

  1. I’m sorry, but I need to know, what happened to Dominique? Did anyone give her a home, or was she robbed of the brother that kept her from being all alone? As good as what the coach did was, why did he not take brother and sister? And why would the brother go without his sister?
    I don’t mean to rain on your parade, Jill, but the sudden absence of Dominique from your story sends shudders down my spine. If she too was not given help and a safe home environment, I hate to think of where she might be today. What is “THE REST OF THE STORY” that we didn’t get to hear?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jill,
    This wonderful tale reminds me of the movie, “The Blind Side” which I have watched too many times to count. The joy in saving a life cannot be measured and for me, this is the real meaning of Christmas.

    Because of Coach Greiner, a young deserving young man has a real chance for a successful, fulfilling life.
    Thanks for sharing this treasure of “good news” story.
    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, this is a great story. It reveals how kids can flourish with a more stable environment and encouragement. The homeless kids I have witnessed have similar success when the family is housed. If we can help the kids, the cycle of homelessness can be broken. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree … it all starts with the children. One thing that puzzled me about this one, and I could find no answers, was how did this situation fall through the cracks of children’s services? Wouldn’t you think that one of the parents of the friends they stayed with would have called, or a teacher?

      Like

  4. What a lovely story. I was especially touched by the final observation: the coach was even more appreciative than the young man. As a coach for many years I found that to be the case: the kids who thanked me were the ones who deserved the thanks. It is a two-way street, but in this case one must applaud the coach and his wife for going the extra mile. No doubt, they were rewarded in the way that matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I liked that too, Hugh! He wasn’t looking for pats on the back, but was giving the pats to Braheam. And yes, I ran out of time and energy before I could say all I wanted in this post, but because of the inspiration they took from Braheam, the coach’s wife is now starting college! There is rather a domino effect that comes from good works.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Coach Sam Greiner – The Militant Negro™

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