More Black football coaches having an impact

Minneapolis North Coach Charles Adams is one of the state’s best.
Photo by Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald

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.

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.

View all posts by Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald →

One Comment on “More Black football coaches having an impact”

  1. Hello – few corrections for you on Ray Betton (not Felton). Ray is the head coach at Shakopee and has been there since 2014. He has 16 years of head coaching experience in MN and 25 years total. Starting as an assistant at Washburn – then as an assistant at Holy Angels. Ray’s first head coaching job was at Simley at 2005 – 2009 where he turned their program around and they had their first winning seasons in decades. Then took the inaugural job East Ridge in 2009. Ray was their first head coach (with only juniors) and then Holy Angels came calling; Ray had coached there as an assistant in the early 2000’s for Larry Fitzgerald (ask Larry Sr. for more detail on that) Ray turned AHA’s program around as well, and lead them to a state championship game (runner-up) in 2013. Then Betton took the 6A job at Shako in fall of 2014. Ray has taken Shakopee football to the state tournament in 2019, 2020 and is currently the 6th ranked team in the state. Shakopee had not been to a state tournament since 1981. Ray has a long and strong performance record of changing cultures built on pillars of technique/effort/attitude/mental toughness. He is a pro at turning around perennial losing programs into winning programs. He is very proud of his ability to connect with his players and developing them into successful leaders and productive men. Also – head coaches of Wayzata and Hopkins should be on this list.

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