My name is Sunny Pitrof. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to play for Coach Kelly Greenberg at The University of Pennsylvania from 1999-2003. To just describe her as “influential” in my life would be an understatement. As a coach, mentor, and friend, she has taught me as much about being a good person as she did about being a good basketball player.
On the court she was tough. She had very high expectations of my teammates and I and she made us better every day. She wanted us to be as driven and committed to the game and each other as she was. She expected our best effort, no matter what, everday. As a reward, by following her example, we became champions, and there was no better feeling than that of team success.
Off the court, she taught us about being caring, trustworthy, respectful, engaged, dedicated and loyal people. She reminded us just how lucky we were to be playing college basketball. She emphasized that we were role models to so many people, and she remained a positive role model for each of us. Coach Greenberg’s expectation of my teammates and I stretched beyond the court. She reminded us that whether we were playing at Princeton, practicing in The Palestra, eating in the dining hall, or studying in the library, we were always representing ourselves, our families, our teammates and our school.
She valued our dedication to both our academics and the game of basketball while also encouraging us to remain as engaged with our families and communities, as she was. She made Penn basketball feel like a family. She was always available to us outside of practice and often served as a surrogate parent to many of us who needed advice and support.
To this day, so many years after graduation, I know my teammates and I still carry with us many of the lessons we learned from her. I still carry the competitiveness that she cultivated in me in most aspects of my life and this has helped me further my success in my career. The core values that she emphasized to us remain those that I base my life on to this day: trustworthiness, dedication, respect and loyalty.
Now that I have children of my own, I can only hope that they are lucky enough to have a coach like Coach Greenberg to encourage, mentor and push them to be their absolute best, like she did for me. I could never thank her enough for helping shape me into the person I am today. I hope this letter conveys how important she has been in my life and why I will remain fiercely loyal to her.