Father, basketball coach, P.E. teacher, and cancer survivor. All these apply to one man, one Helix teacher, Mr. John Singer, or most commonly known as “Coach Singer”.
His journey began as a Helix student, a basketball player who played along side former NBA player Bill Walton. Although a graduate from Helix, it seems Singer never quite left Helix at all because “he never grew up”.
“I still screw around,” Singer said of himself, claiming it’s his players that “keep him young”.
Singer has been the head coach for Helix’s Varsity basketball team for the past 34 years and is currently a P.E. coach as well. Since his early college days, coaching has been his dream.
“I have been wanting to coach since I was 18 years old,” Singer recalled, reminiscing about his days as a student at Grossmont College, “I knew right there I wanted to coach.”
He claimed it’s the “juice” of coaching that keeps him coming back to it instead of the championships and wins that he claims most people expect him to say.
The “juice” he reveals is “watching [players] change from “I” to “we” and develop into a team”.
“When they have different personalities and are able to work together it makes me want to keep coming back,” Singer stated.
While his coaching status is “up in the air”, he plans on retiring from working as a P.E coach this June.
“In June I plan to retire,” Singer said with a shrug.“But I still plan on coaching the [ varsity basketball ] team.”
Recently in an interview with San Diego’s Union Tribune, Singer discussed his bladder cancer, something not even some of his co-workers knew about.
Mr. James Cook, a friend and coworker of Singer’s who teaches Tech at Helix said he was not aware of his friend’s cancer until reading the Union Tribune article.
“I had no clue, I just read about it today,” Cook exclaimed, shocked he was not aware of something so serious.
“I don’t look for sympathy”, Singer claimed as his reason to not be so open about his cancer, “It just is what it is”.
Singer clarifies he was not trying to hide it from others, but rather described himself to not be an “extrovert person” and it came natural to not discuss it because “a lot more people have a lot more things wrong with them”.
The humble coach also said with the help of his family he has been able to accept his cancer.
“My Fiancee recently lost her daughter last year,” Singer revealed, “so we have both have been there for each other a lot lately.”
As of this season, Singer has coached the varsity basketball team to winning CIF and reaching State Playoffs. Even cancer cannot stop this man from his passion of coaching.