The Westbury High School basketball team had plenty to celebrate this season, as they clinched the Long Island Championship title for the first time in school history. But it wasn’t just the chance to carry home a victory that spurred the boys on through every game; it was the memory of their beloved assistant coach Edwin Redd, who died in October 2016 from a heart attack.
“I really believe when you have a higher purpose to play for, it means something,” said head coach David Graff, who had coached Redd as a Westbury High School player before sharing coaching duties with him for 11 years. “All the little petty nonsense that can happen, all that went out the window. The only thing that mattered was us being successful, in a large part to honor him. We always had that to motivate us.”
Last week, the PTA Council and family of coach Redd hosted a dinner for the high school basketball team to recognize their outstanding season and pay homage to the man who had such an influence on their lives.
“Redd was like our older brother,” said junior Isaiah Bien-Aise. “As a team, we knew we had to work hard every day to overcome that adversity. To play this season without our coach meant a lot.”
Redd was an encouraging mentor to the players he coached. Senior Brandon Ottley said the loss united the team and gave them even more drive to work hard.
“It gave us extra motivation. We dug deep because we knew we were [playing] for a bigger purpose,” Ottley said.
Redd, known by many as “Twin,” was a fixture in the community, graduating from Westbury High School in 1988. Not only was Redd a PAL and high school basketball coach, but he was a mentor to young athletes as well, Graff said.
“He had roots in the community and was so intertwined in [Westbury]. Whenever there was an issue with a kid or family or something came up, I could always call on him and he would really help with those issues,” Graff said. “He was also a really intelligent ball player. He had a great sense of humor and great relationship with the kids.”
Redd’s son, Jabari Redd, said he felt honored to be part of the Westbury community. He and his brother, Shomari, have started a scholarship fund in memory of their father, and hope to start providing college scholarships to student-athletes next year. Find out more about the scholarship and donate to the scholarship at www.gofundme.com/HoopsandEd.