ST. LOUIS — On the Cardinal Ritter coaching staff, mainly all the coaches are able to relate with their players.

"All of the coaches from all of the neighborhoods around here," said wide receiver's coach Brandon Wright.

On the field there's a ton of young talent, on the sideline, there's a lot of former talented St. Louis standout athletes.

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Most of the Lions coaches played college ball, some even played in the pros, giving their players something to look up to. But aside from the x's and o's, these coaches all have one thing in common – they're great men, said coach Brandon Gregory.

"Sometimes you got to supersede the football coaching part and put your kids around good people," Gregory said.

The good people grew up just like them, they see themselves in their players, throwing the football on the same fields in the same environment.

It was all a part of coach Gregory's goal, finding men who can teach students more than just the game.

"It seems like everything they say we can relate," said sophomore Tyjaun Atkins.

The bond is magnetic, the coaches understand the players lifestyles and the grind on and off the gridiron. That's why they show them success stories are not just made on the field.

"I feel like for me I'm giving back to my community, showing them that you can make it out here and use this game of football to get a college degree," Wright said.

"It's just a beautiful feeling, he's just another coach that feels like another father figure in my life, he tells me when I'm doing wrong, give me advice, it's just a beautiful thing," quarterback Mekhi Hagens said.

Because at the end of the day forget the big wins, bragging rights and championships, the goal for this coaching staff is to see their boys, become great men.

"It's more sweet in the end seeing a young cat, me giving the knowledge that I've learned over the years and teaching it to them and they take it in stride and be successful with it," wide receiver coach Spencer Davis said.