Jihad leading Edison

Courtesy Ahmil Jihad (l-r) Edison Coach Ahmil Jihad, guard Jabari Langley, and Athletic Director Brett McNeal. Langley scored more than 1,000 points in his career, becoming the second-leading scorer in school history.

Ahmil Jihad, the Edison High School coach recently named the 2021 Minneapolis City Conference Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year, had a season to remember, though it didn’t conclude like he and his players would have liked.

“We had one of our best seasons,” he said, “but we couldn’t participate in the playoffs because of COVID. Our players were devastated.”

The Tommies were on a roll, having finished second in the City Conference with a 9-3 record and feeling confident as section competition approached.

They had a winning record of 15-10 last season. It was their first winning record since Dante Johnson and Dwayne Maybon had Edison in the thick of things during the mid- to late-1990s.

“There is a lot to be thankful for this past season,” Jihad acknowledged. He is on the mark with that comment.

Not only did Edison place three players on the all-conference team—Mohammed Mohamed, Johnny Spencer and Jabari Langley—but also Langley became the school’s second-all-time leading scorer.

Jihad, a 1984 Minneapolis North graduate, was hired by fellow 1985 graduate and former basketball star Brett McNeal. He’s had quite the journey up to this point.

He credits community activist Kwame McDonald and former University of Minnesota football great Ken Foxworth for starting him on a path that will cement his legacy as one of the best high school coaches in state history during the 1980s.

“When I was a student at the University of Minnesota, Ken Foxworth and Kwame McDonald introduced me to [then-men’s basketball coach] Clem Haskins,” Jihad remembered. “I became a student manager.”

Jihad added that he learned a lot from the position. “I was helping recruits, breaking down film, building relationships with players and staff,’ he said. “I learned a lot from that experience.”

His coaching resume includes years of coaching the STREETS and Howard Pulley AAU programs and seven years as an assist for the boys’ program at Minneapolis South.

However, most remember his tenure as coach of the girls’ program at Minneapolis South during the mid-late 2000s.

During that time, he coached one of the state’s all-time greats in Tayler Hill, culminating in a Class 4A state championship in 2009.

For all his accomplishments Jihad is now focused on making Edison the best it can be. He’s a basketball coach. He’s a mentor. He’s a guiding force in his community.

Ahmil Jihad is right where he is supposed to be.

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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