Local coaches who succeeded as student-athletes

(Courtesy of Crystal Flint) Crystal Flint

Several local basketball coaches made their mark as high school players and at the collegiate level in the state of Minnesota. Here are a few that come to mind:

Crystal Flint (Cretin-Derham Hall, girls): Led the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team to their first NCAA tournament as a star forward in 1994. Coached at Minneapolis North before moving on to lead the Raiders. Before coaching she was one of the state’s top girls’ basketball game officials.

Marlon McCoy (St. Paul Central, girls): Led St. Agnes High School to the Class A boys’ state basketball championship in 1994. He also served as an assistant coach to boys’ programs at St. Paul Central and Tartan.

Ashley Ellis-Milan (East Ridge, girls): Led St. Paul Central to a third-place finish in the Class 4A state tournament in 2005. She also worked as an assistant at Minneapolis South and DeLaSalle.

Travis Bledsoe (DeLaSalle, boys): Had an outstanding prep career at DeLaSalle. Was a Mr. Basketball finalist before embarking on a successful collegiate career at North Dakota. He coached the Islanders to a Class 3A state title in 2019.

Tanysha Scott (Roseville, girls): Was an outstanding player at DeLaSalle and one of the state’s top players as a senior in 1999. Went on to star at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Coached at Minneapolis South and DeLaSalle—winning the Class 3A state title in 2019—before coming to Roseville.

Ricky Hill (Minneapolis South, girls): Was an all-conference performer in football and basketball at Minneapolis South before graduating in 1985 and continuing his collegiate career at Inver Hills Community College and Boise State University (Idaho). He previously served as an assistant coach for the girls’ program at DeLaSalle.

Courtesy of Stillwater Gazette Willie Taylor

Willie Taylor (Stillwater, girls): Led Duluth Central to the Class AA state tournament as a shooting guard in 1977 and later coached St. Paul Central to back-to-back Class 4A state crowns in 2007 and 2008.

Arsenio Richardson (St. Louis Park, girls): Scored over 1,000 points during his prep career at St. Louis Park, also dominating in football and track and field before graduating in 2005. He went on to an outstanding collegiate career at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Tara Starks (Hopkins, girls): Starred for Minneapolis North’s girls’ basketball team in the early 1990s and developed into one of the state’s top AAU coaches. She was an assistant at North for 10 seasons and the head coach for one season.

Robert Mestas (Burnsville, boys): Won Mr. Basketball as point guard for Minneapolis Roosevelt in 1995. Led DeLaSalle to a second place Class A finish as a freshman in 1992. Coached at Roosevelt for six years before coming to Burnsville.

About Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald

Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at mcdeezy05@gmail.com.

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