Striving to make a difference

Photo courtesy Facebook Reggie Perkins

Reggie Perkins and Giovan Jenkins both want to impact youth and have done so for quite some time. Both are continuing their quest to make a difference.

Perkins, a native of Milwaukee, WI who has carved out quite the career in athletics and education, recently resigned from his position of athletic director at Minneapolis Washburn High School. Jenkins, an outstanding student-athlete in the 1990s who went on to become dean of students and head football coach at the school, has been hired to replace him.

Both come with quite the resumes.

Perkins starred as a guard for the boys’ basketball team at Milwaukee Madison High School graduating in 1984 before embarking on a Hall of Fame and All-American collegiate career at St. Cloud State University and a professional stint with the Harlem Globetrotters.

After graduating from SCSU, he served as the life skills coordinator, head men’s golf coach, and assistant men’s basketball coach at St. Cloud State before venturing to the Twin Cities in 2000.

He helped head coach, former Minneapolis North basketball standout, and current Minneapolis Edison Athletic Director Brett McNeal capture the Class 4A state boys’ basketball championship in 2003 and a third-place finish in 2002.

Photo courtesy Facebook Giovan Jenkins

Perkins went on to take over the head job at Washburn, leading the Millers to the 2009 Class 3A crown and a runner-up finish in 2012. He left for a year to coach at Bloomington Kennedy before coming to Washburn to head the school’s athletic program in 2013.

Today he’s devoting his time as owner of Hi-Five Sports Zone in Eden Prairie to give youth additional opportunities through sports. For me, it was just time to do something different,” Perkins said when asked about his move from Washburn. “Chasing my dream of having my own youth program.”

Jenkins’ devotion to Washburn is unquestioned. Not only did he excel as a running back/ defensive back for the football team, but he was also a member of the school’s 1994 Class AA state championship boys’ basketball team as a sophomore guard.

After graduating in 1996, he attended Mankato State University on a football scholarship and went on to have a successful collegiate career on the gridiron. Following college, it seemed to many that Jenkins had come full circle serving as a dean of students and later head football coach at his alma mater—both with positive results.

Jenkins took over as head football coach in 2009, leading the Millers to five consecutive City conference titles before moving on to volunteer positions at the University of Minnesota and Hamline University where he helped with recruiting and defensive quality control as a volunteer coach.

Now he is back at the place where he, like Perkins, has had an enormous impact. For Perkins, it was time for him to chase his dream. For Jenkins, it was time for him to return to where it all started.

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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