This week’s column highlights four women who have been making a difference. They include a former college star from Minneapolis who landed her first head high school coaching job, another from St. Paul who is playing professionally overseas, a Minneapolis native who has blossomed into a sports broadcaster, and a former University of Minnesota women’s player who is building her legacy as a coach and mentor to young girls.
As a senior forward/center, Edwards capped off a great prep career by leading Minneapolis North’s girls basketball team to a surprising Class 2A runner-up finish in the 2009 state tournament. She went on to have an outstanding career as a member of the Providence University women’s basketball team. She was recently named the head girls basketball coach at her alma mater.
After starring for three years at St. Paul Johnson, the guard transferred to St. Paul Central. After an outstanding junior year there, she led the Minutemen to an undefeated season and Class 4A state girls basketball championship in 2007. She went on to Marquette and is in the school’s Hall of Fame. She also plays professionally overseas.
Lea B. Olsen
After starring at Minneapolis South from 1983-1985, the forward went on to play at the University of Minnesota before entering the world of broadcast journalism. She has become one of the top sports broadcasters in the country as a TV analyst for the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA), Minnesota Lynx (WNBA), and the Minnesota state girls basketball tournament. She is also a motivational speaker.
The Boston native came to the University of Minnesota on a scholarship to play on women’s basketball and has had an impact on Minnesota high school basketball ever since. She led the Gophers to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance and victory in 1994. Since then, she has been a coach, referee and facilitator of numerous basketball camps for young girls. She is currently the head coach of the girls basketball team at Cretin-Derham Hall.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.