He is usually seen on the basketball court itself, playing forward for the varsity Lions.
But for a few weeks this year, Henry Estes ’26 traded his uniform for a sport coat and took on the role of head coach of the Class of 2029’s basketball team.
While St. Mark’s organizes team sports for grades 7-12, lower grades play through the local YMCA with volunteer coaches. History instructor and St. Mark’s parent Michele Santosuosso had coached her son’s team for several years but, when he decided not to play this year, she asked Estes to step in.
“I have known him for a few years, and he is a really positive role model among his peers,” Santosuosso said. “The little boys love having a cool high school boy as a coach.”
Estes recruited classmate Zachary Yang ’25 as his assistant coach and got to work.
“I agreed to coach because of how much I appreciate my own experiences through youth basketball in the YMCA,” Estes said. “I understand the bonds with teammates that are made through these seasons last for years.”
Throughout the winter, Estes and Yang held Sunday practices and led the team through ten games, including the playoffs.
“I was surprised to see how at a young age, some of the boys possessed leadership traits and stepped up to push their peers in the right direction,” Yang said. “During practices, Henry and I did not usually have to get onto a distracted or misbehaving player, as there was often a teammate right there to push them back in the right direction. That is ultimately what being a Marksman is all about.”
The boys’ hard work and diligent practice paid off when they clinched the 6th-grade basketball championship at the Moody Family YMCA. After the final game, Estes and Yang treated the boys to frozen yogurt with one more surprise: gold championship rings for each player.
“These are kids that I likely wouldn't know had I not coached their team, but because I did, these are boys that I can high-five in the halls and joke around with on campus,” Estes said. “I really believe that they helped grow me not just as a coach and a player but also as a man."