Interviewee: Darren Sunkett
Interviewers: Akeem Muhammad
May 14, 2009
Akeem Muhammad: Can you please state your name and occupation? How long have you been coaching? What high school did you attend?
Darren Sunkett: My name is Darren Sunkett. I am a physical education teacher, football coach. I have been coaching for 15 years. I attended Camden New Jersey High School.
Akeem Muhammad: In your own words, what do you believe a coach's role is?
Darren Sunkett: A coach's role is to be a role model, teacher, and a father-figure to young adults.
Akeem Muhammad: What strategies do you use as a coach to keep your players focused on school and their extra-curriculum activity instead of the expectations of our city?
Darren Sunkett: I draw from my own experiences. I was raised in an inner city, so I use examples of my mistakes to try to guide them so they don't make the same mistakes I did.
Akeem Muhammad: Would you say that your past coaches have contributed to your talents as a coach now?
Darren Sunkett: Yes, I would say so. Because they wanted me to get out of the environment I was in.
Akeem Muhammad: What would you say is the greatest sport achievement made in our city?
Darren Sunkett: There were numerous achievements. Three sports won the state championship in 2008. Jackie and Al Joyner won gold medals in 1984.
Akeem Muhammad: What is your standpoint on athletes that aren't meeting academic requirements?
Darren Sunkett: I believe that this is a two-way street. There should be more parental support, teachers need to help and there needs to be a system of tutorials for ACT prep and basic math skills.
Akeem Muhammad: Many people view sports as being the backbone of recognition for East St. Louis; Do you agree or disagree?
Darren Sunkett: I would agree; but it's not just sports. It's also arts. Great musicians came from East St. Louis. East St. Louis has a rich history of great talented people; but, sports are the main publicity.
Akeem Muhammad: Is there anything positive that you feel the media has either ignored or not publicized enough?
Darren Sunkett: All they focus on is the negative aspects. If they only can in the city, they can see the positive; but there are many.
Akeem Muhammad: What advice would you give future coaches that will follow in your footsteps in order to carry on a legacy in our city?
Darren Sunkett: I would advise them to be the best coaches they can be. Be their mentor, father, teacher, motivator, and their trainer; push them to work harder. Flyers don't quit.
Akeem Muhammad: To conclude this interview, could you give us a few words that describe East St. Louis?
Darren Sunkett: A city with a rich history; a city produced by outstanding people; a city where people care about its rich traditions; mainly, a city with a lot of pride. You can go as far as California and people know about East St. Louis. We tend to brag about our rich history.