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GCSD Anthony Gaines Receives Lower Hudson Basketball Coaches Association Award

Lower Hudson Basketball Coaches Association Award Hits Close to Home and Brings a Lifetime of Work Full Circle for GSCD Social Worker Anthony Gaines  

Basketball is more than just a game for Anthony Gaines, social worker at Woodlands Middle High School. He’s not only seen how the sport has benefited his students as a former coach for the WHS varsity basketball team and current coach for Woodlands modified and My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) teams, he knows the value from personal experience. “Basketball means everything to me. As a teenager, living in the Bronx, playing basketball in school gave me direction and kept me off the street,” he said. “Equally important, it consistently placed me in the presence of positive adults.”

Athletics run deep in Mr. Gaines’ history. Growing up his father was a football and baseball coach, and he has memories at four years old playing basketball with his older brothers. During Mr. During Gaines' teenage years, his school guidance counselor informed him that he was facing 66 days of detention for missing his classes during his ninth grade year. “My school guidance counselor took an interest in me in order to protect my potential,” he said. “She made sure I did what I needed to do academically to be able to stay on the team.”

Mr. Gaines’ involvement with the Lower Hudson Basketball Coaches Association (LHBCA) goes back to 2005, and, this year, Mr. Gaines  received the coveted LHBCA Willie Worsley Social Justice Award while surrounded by his proud family. Its namesake played for Texas Western College, and in 1966, the team defeated the University of Kentucky for the NCAA Championship. It was the first time an all black team played in the NCAA. 

“The social justice piece is such an important part of the work I do in the school and with MBK students,” said Mr. Gaines. “Willie Worsley is a longtime Section One coach who has made a positive impact in the community. To this day, he is still an active figure in civil rights. He is an inspiration.” Basketball has been a pivotal part of the MBK program for many years, and it ran all year round as a result of Mr. Gaines’s efforts. “We would run basketball programs over the summer for students,” he said. “But in order for it to run, MBK students had to be on the Honor Roll during the school year. This way, it could be offered to families free of charge.”

Two of Mr. Gaines’ WHS MBK student members also received awards at Tuesday evening’s LHBCA ceremony. Eric Woodberry, an MBK Fellows, took home the Lower Hudson Valley First Team Award, and Jamison Stevens received the All-Conference Award.

This recognition reflects much of Mr. Gaines’ work, and his journey to this point mirrors his past, present, and future. “I think about that guidance counselor from ninth grade. I’ll always be grateful for her protective nature and how she motivated me with positive statements,” he said. “She was that adult to me that I am now to my students.”