A retired NFL star returned to his alma mater to surprise a football coach during a homecoming pep rally.

Norman “Boomer” Esiason, former quarterback for the New York Jets and alumnus of East Islip’s Class of 1979, snuck into his alma mater’s pep rally on Oct. 9 to bestow a special honor on one of their coaches.

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Esiason lurked behind the scenes as band members, kickline performers, cheerleaders and 11 varsity teams pumped their schoolmates full of East Islip pride. To the entire school’s surprise, the talented alumnus suddenly emerged from behind the scenes and called up one of their coaches.

Varsity football coach Sal Ciampi Jr. stepped into the spotlight as Esiason, accompanied by Ciampi’s father, Sal Sr., presented him with the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll program’s Wilson “golden football.” 

“Our students really appreciated seeing Boomer return to East Islip,” East Islip athletic Director Stephen Restivo said in a news release. “He’s someone who grew up here, whose dedication and hard work brought him success, and he always gives back to the community. It sends a nice message.”

In addition to his golden trophy, the younger Ciampi, a second generation football coach, was also given a commemorative plaque to celebrate his 100th coaching victory.