OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Most people have never heard of Anthony Eggleton but if you’re an athlete in Oakland, you most likely have.
Coach Ant is like a superhero in the Oakland community.
He won’t refer to himself like that but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
It doesn’t matter if you are a millionaire pro, or an elementary school kid without anything, Coach Ant will take you under his wing as both a coach and a life mentor.
In a little gym tucked away in North Oakland, you can find Coach Ant, molding the next generation of Bay Area athletes, or refining the current crop of pros.
“For me, it’s about setting an example of what we can all do to come together to help build and grow a community and support the community. So I decided I was going to put myself out there to help lead an example in a good way,” Coach Ant said.
For the last 37 years, Coach Ant has been grooming athletes of all ages not just for their respective sport, but in the game of life.
“The relationships with the kids, the coaches, the parents, and watching them grow and realizing that I am part of their whole growth process, that I get to be a part of this. I think that’s magical and a beautiful thing. They come in here like a cocoon and they blossom into this beautiful butterfly and go out into the world,” Coach Ant said.
Pictures and messages of the athletes he’s impacted litter the walls of his gym. On this day, two pro basketball players are in the building — Ivan Rabb of the West Chester Knicks and Jabari Bird, an NBA free agent.
“What makes me believe in Coach Ant is the fact that he is genuine. He’s a real person. I take it beyond the fact that we work together as a coach and player. It’s a friendship. A partnership. I’ve known coach since I was 16. I trust him,” Jabari Bird said.
“You see it. All the athletes on the wall, pros, collegiate athletes. He just got a long history of being around and helping the community and I have seen first hand my improvement over these past 5,6 months and that’s why I trust him,” Ivan Rabb said.
While Coach Ant does everything he can to make his athletes the best they can be, he holds himself to that same standard.
“Considered one of the best who was able to train all types of athletes and also to take training to a whole other level than it’s been before,” Coach Ant said.