Flint to coach at North

Prep sceneWhen it really came down to it, Crystal Flint decided to take the chance and apply for the girls’ basketball coaching position at Minneapolis North High School.

“When the job opened up, people encouraged me to go for it,” the former University of Minnesota women’s basketball player said. “I resisted at first. But then I thought, why not?”

“I have the support of the community, and that’s always a good thing.”

That chance paid off as Flint was selected to lead an outstanding girls’ basketball program that had fallen on hard times in the past decade but appears to be on the rise as of late.

Flint is no stranger to the game of basketball.

The Boston native starred at South Boston High School in Boston before accepting a scholarship offer from then-University of Minnesota head women’s basketball coach LaRue Fields in the spring of 1989.

Five years later, she was leading the Gophers to their first-ever NCAA tournament, where they defeated Notre Dame in the first round. In 1995 Flint graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with emphases in sociology, women’s studies and African American studies.

Upon graduation, she served as an assistant coach at the U of M under Linda Hill-MacDonald until 1997 and completed a three-year stint as head coach at Division II Concordia University before resigning in 2000.

In the past 12 years she has developed into one of state’s top officials in high school girls’ basketball, officiating the last seven in the state tournament.

Flint, who currently works in the Minneapolis Park Board Community Outreach Department, made it clear that, in addition to her basketball experience, her connection to the program’s past and current community was a factor in her applying and accepting the position.

When North had their run under the legendary Faith Johnson-Patterson, who is now at DeLaSalle, from 1996-2009, Flint indicated that she was a mentor to former Lady Polar standouts Tamara Moore, Mauri Horton, Tiara Medlock and Krsytal Taylor to name a few.

She also acknowledged that she has gotten nothing but positive feedback from the close-knit Northside community. “It’s all been positive,” she said. “I have the support of the community, and that’s always a good thing.”

Flint seems ready for the challenge and made it known that she plans to lead a competitive team next year and build on their last season’s success under Kale Severson.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “We have some talent coming back.”

Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to mmcdonald@spokesman-recorder.com.