The landscape of high school football has drastically changed over the past couple of decades. Today there are more African Americans in head coaching positions than ever before as metro area demographics are becoming more diverse.
During this time, these coaches have made a difference and have achieved success while impacting the lives of young men. Here are five of those coaches who have and will continue to change the face of high school football in the state of Minnesota.
Charles Adams (Minneapolis North): Adams has turned the Polars into one of the state’s most dominant teams with consecutive state playoff appearances since 2014. They won the Class 1A state championship in 2016. North is currently ranked No. 3 in Class 2A.
Justin Reese (Fridley): He has led the Tigers to new heights since becoming head coach in 2015. He is the 2020 Minnesota Football Coaches Association (MFCA) Coach of the Year. He led Fridley to the state playoffs last season. Fridley is ranked No. 9 in Class 4A.
Ray Felton (Shakopee): He has immediately brought a certain energy to the Sabers football program this season. Shakopee is currently ranked No. 6 in Class 6A. This is Felton’s first season coaching the Sabers.
Willie Howard (Robbinsdale Cooper): Howard, a former Stanford University standout who played two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, had led the Hawks to become one of the state’s premier programs boasting groups of talented young men season after season. Cooper is currently 4-2.
Scott Howell (St. Paul Central): Since taking one for the legendary Floyd Smaller, who starred at Central during the early 1980s as an all-metro and all-state fullback, he has led the Minutemen since 2001.
Before the current state alignment was established in 2015, Howell led Central to six consecutive St. Paul City championships from 2009-2014. The Minutemen are currently 4-3.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.