CHICAGO (WLS) -- A teacher who thought he was meeting with a principal ended up the focus of a big surprise.
Thousands of students and staff are showing support for the man who is currently in recovery.
Stan Meitus is known to most everyone in the community as Coach Stan.
Coach Stan entered the Kelly College Prep gym Friday to a standing ovation. He had no idea the students, alumni and teachers were gathering to honor him.
"Coach Stan has had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many young people going back generations," said Principal Raul Magdaleno.
He is back after a recent health issue, and fittingly, he is being recognized in the gym which was been named in his honor.
"When I think of Coach Stan, he is the heart of the community," said Joe Trost, with Buddy's Helpers.
He has coached thousands of students over his career going back some 25 years. He was also a student and three sport athlete at Kelly.
He's spent much of his life in the community.
"This has always been my home -- my second home. It will never change. My heart's at Kelly," Coach Stan said.
A 2015 documentary called "In the Game" shot at the school illustrates the work Coach Stan does with the girls soccer team he coaches and the enormous challenges they face in the socio-economically challenged Brighton Park community.
"He's always there for you. He's always asking, 'how's your family, how's your mom, how are you,'"
said Yoseline Hernandez, a Kelly College Prep student,
"He's an incredible coach but a better person," said Kelly alum Kevin Guzman.
His athletes said he not only coaches them in sports, but more importantly, in life.
"They made a difference in my life. They''re the reason I keep on going all these years. They're my motivation, my strength," Coach Stan said.
All the people who helped surprise Coach Stan Friday are just a small portion of those he has influenced in his career. And he's not done yet! There are many more to come.