HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – A local football legend returned to his former high school for the first time in over 40 years.

Gary Cramer, the life football coach for the University of Alabama and The Crimson Tide, returned to Horseheads High School Thursday afternoon. The 1980 Horseheads graduate delivered an emotionally charged message to the Blue Raider football program in his return to the school.

Cramer has won six national championships at Alabama under head coach Nick Saban. The program is again ranked preseason number one in the country by the Associated Press (AP). Saban is college football’s all-time leader in national championship wins with seven.

Cramer has helped mold NFL players, Heisman Trophy winners, and countless student-athletes into strong successful workers in life. His message to every Horseheads player and coach was to never cheat the day from a single rep to chasing down dreams.

For Cramer, coming back home in his former school that he graduated from means everything.

“It was surreal walking back here and speaking to these guys.” Cramer said. “There’s a lot of sharp young men in the coaching staff, phenomenal men I’m really proud of.”

Cramer will be attending this Saturday’s Xfinity series race at Watkins Glen International to support a former player of the Crimson Tide family on a pit crew. Coming back to show support for Alabama and also reliving some great memories with the Blue Raiders is something he’ll never forget.

“Seeing these guys with the blue and white and the Horseheads on their chest, I’m just really proud,” Cramer said.

Cramer delivered the speech in front of his parents who were also in attendance. 18 Sports will be sharing the entire speech given by Cramer in the coming days. The Crimson Tide open up their season on Saturday, September 3 against Utah State at home. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm on the SEC Network.