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Hoopster’s final year of play prepares her for youth-work career

Shae Kelley
Photo by Charles Hallman

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2014-15 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players

This week: Gopher senior basketball player Shae Kelley

Shae Kelley’s goal this season is to help the Golden Gophers make the NCAAs for the

first time since 2009. But her overall goal aims for a more lasting impact. “When I go back home [to Denver, Colo.], I want to build a 24-hour [youth] center, more for teenagers or college students when they come home, where we can play or give them something to do late at night — give kids something to do and stay off the streets,” pledges Kelley. After earning her bachelor’s degree at Old Dominion last spring, Kelley transferred to Minnesota and enrolled in the school’s youth development leadership master’s degree program.  When completed, which she expects to do later this year, Kelley will be able “to work with all type of youth,” she predicts. Continue Reading →

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Black female strength coach a true rarity

Conclusion of a two-part column


If it’s hard being a Black female coach in any sport, it’s more than likely harder still for a Black female strength coach. Mia Erickson of the Mayo Clinic Performance Center in Rochester, Minn. was the only Black among the four-person sport science panel at the U of M Tucker Center Women Coaches Symposium in February. “That’s just the way it is on seeing [strength] coaches that look like me,” she admits. “First of all, I’m in a male-dominated field, so there are not going to be a lot of female coaches. Continue Reading →

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A sports reporter’s spring notebook cleaning

Marlene Stollings’ second hire on her Gopher women’s basketball coaching staff is Nikita (Niki) Dawkins. She is a 23-year coaching veteran who has been a VCU assistant coach the last two seasons and held similar positions at Old Dominion, Michigan and Ohio State, her alma mater. In a released statement, Stollings called Dawkins, whose duties include recruiting coordinator, “one of the top assistants in the country.” She joins Tiffanie Couts, who Stollings named director of basketball operations. Couts was a grad assistant last season at VCU. The women are the only two Blacks on the staff. Continue Reading →

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Civil rights tour opened students’ eyes to Black history

 Spring break trip field trip encouraged thoughts of college, attending HBCUs

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer


Over 40 Minneapolis Public Schools’ (MPS) Black high school students, instead of spending spring break on a sunny beach, traveled down south by bus on a “Civil Rights Research Tour.” The five-day tour (March 31-April 5) took the students to Montgomery, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia and stopped at several historic sites, including the 16th Street Baptist Church, where four young Black girls died in 1964. For some students, the trip also included stops at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Four of the participants spoke to the MSR last week about their experience. “It helped me learn more about my history,” said Edison junior Nailah Heard. “I never heard of the 16th Street Church at all,” added Edison’s classmate Jasmine Valentine. Continue Reading →

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Redlining targets Black Minnesotans and neighborhoods

Wells Fargo leads pack according to U of M report on sub-prime lenders

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer


A new University of Minnesota Law School study shows that Blacks and other communities of color and low-income residents in the Twin Cities still lack access to credit. It is an update of a 2009 study that found that Blacks and Latinos — even with “very high income[s] — were much more likely to get sub-prime loans than very low-income White applicants.”

“It’s hard to believe that systemically a Black family that is making $157,000 a year is less likely to qualify for a prime loan than a White family that earns 40 [thousand a year],” noted Myron Orfield, the director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, which is housed at the U of M Law School. The report also shows that Blacks and other people of color who live in two North Minneapolis neighborhoods had the highest number of sub-prime loans compared to Whites in the same neighborhoods: 59 percent for people of color compared to 42 percent Whites in Near North; and 55 percent for people of color in Camden compared to 29 percent for Whites. These two areas also “were most dramatically affected” among Twin Cities neighborhoods. “Our report [reveals] discrimination in lending against individuals on the basis of race, and also discrimination in lending against neighborhoods on the basis of race,” noted Orfield, who heads the U of M Law School’s

Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (IMO). Continue Reading →

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Greater diversity unlikely in post-Borton Gopher women’s basketball



Thus far, Gopher AD Norwood Teague is two-for-two in firing coaches in consecutive years. He fired Pam Borton as the school’s women’s basketball coach, seemingly less than 24 hours after her last game last week. She got the ziggy in less time than Tubby Smith got axed around this same time nearly a year ago. Borton was my fifth coach I covered as the longest tenured Gopher women hoops beat writer, She had her faults — no coach is perfect, and for whatever reason, she couldn’t convince too many local Black females to play for her.  

Former Gopher Leah Cotton, who played for Borton (2010-13), recently spoke to the MSR while in town for the team’s Senior Night March 2. Continue Reading →

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Inclusive candidates for Borton’s replacement



The news wasn’t even an hour old before a local daily newspaper posted on their website a list of possible candidates to succeed Pam Borton as Minnesota women’s basketball coach. Not one, however, of the eight current head coaches and six assistant coaches suggested for the position was of color. The Gophers probably hadn’t gotten back in town after last Thursday’s loss at South Dakota State before Minnesota AD Norwood Teague simply inserted the final date on Borton’s “Dear Jane” dismissal letter — the same type letter that former coach Tubby Smith received last year. Every time I saw Teague at a Gopher game during the season, he looked like he was just counting days, hours and minutes before he could zap her out. The former coach had been on shaky ground since last season. Continue Reading →

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March madness continues



The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:

No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →

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Gophers focus on Hockey Frozen Four

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


It was like Bachmann-Turner Overdrive last week for the Minnesota women’s hockey team, and this week it’s the Isley Brothers. Minnesota has been “Taking Care of Business,” scoring four unanswered goals to defeat Boston University 5-1 last Saturday in the NCAA quarterfinals. This Friday, they’ve still got “Work to Do” as the Gophers (37-1-1) face Wisconsin (28-7-2) in Hamden, Conn., the site of the 2014 Frozen Four. “It was business as usual,” proclaimed U of M junior defenseman Rachel Ramsey after the win. She added that the biggest prize still lies ahead of them. Continue Reading →

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March Madness begins



Let’s be perfectly clear from the start — this and all subsequent columns are March Madness cliché-free. We won’t be talking about dancing or getting tickets punched here. The Gophers women basketball team plays Thursday in the 2014 Big Ten women’s tournament in Indianapolis — they face 11th-seeded Wisconsin at approximately 8 pm local time. Minnesota (19-11, 8-8 Big Ten) as the sixth seed goes into Indy on a modest two-game winning streak, but more importantly, especially for further post-season considerations, the Gophers have won seven of their last 11 contests. Although the team finished with a positive conference record for the first time since 2009, from now on U of M’s “second season” record must stay above .500. Continue Reading →

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