North going to state

Coach inducted into Hall of Fame









It was quite the weekend for North High School in Minneapolis. The football team improved to 11-0 by defeating Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity 40-13 to capture the Class A Section 4 championship last Friday, October 31.

For the Polars, it was their fourth state tournament playoff berth in 15 seasons.

Larry McKenzie
Larry McKenzie

The next day, North Boys’ Basketball Coach Larry McKenzie became the first African American to be inducted into the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association (MBCA) Hall of Fame at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

Before coming to North, McKenzie coached at Henry, leading the Patriots to four consecutive Class 3A state championships, and at Holy Angels. This week’s countdown highlights both accomplishments:

10: The jersey number of Minneapolis North football phenom Tyler Johnson. The junior, a quarterback/defensive back, has helped the Polars earn a state playoff berth while developing into one of the

Tyler Johnson Photos by Mitchell Palmer McDonald
Tyler Johnson
Photos by Mitchell Palmer McDonald

state’s most dominant players. (I know I indicated this in a previous column, but it was worth mentioning again.)

9: The number of years that McKenzie coached boys’ basketball at Henry.

8: The number of victories the North football team, coached by Charles Adams Jr., earned during the regular season.

7: The number of ways in which North scored in its first playoff game, a 33-0 victory over Kimball. The Polars scored five touchdowns, one two-point conversion and an extra point.

6: The number of section championships won by Henry while McKenzie was coach.

5: The jersey number of North wide receiver Malik Matthews, who caught two passes for touchdowns and added an extra point in the section title game against Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity.

4: The number of state titles, including a four-peat, that McKenzie led Henry to from 1999-2003.

3: The number of state football playoff appearances for North (2000, 2003 and 2009) before their section championship victory last week.

2: The number of former pro athletes in attendance to support McKenzie at the MBCA Hall of Fame Banquet. Current Minneapolis City Conference Athletic Director and former University of Minnesota men’s basketball standout Trent Tucker (NBA) and former Minnesota Vikings receiver and current North Athletic Director Dr. Leo Lewis (NFL) were in attendance.

1: The number of African American coaches inducted into the MBCA Hall of Fame, McKenzie being the first.


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