Sports and Real Talk with Coach McKenzie

Insight News (June 18, 2018)

Not sure where to start so I guess I’ll start by saying thank you to Mr. Al McFarlane for the opportunity and challenge to share my personal perspective through print media.

I’m always telling my kids to get outside of their comfort zones and sometimes you gotta practice what you preach. So I’m excited to share with you on a regular basis my thoughts through Insight News; and no it’s not a sport column. READ MORE…


Homecoming: Hoops star Khalid El-Amin returns to North High as assistant coach

Insight News (November 9, 2017)

A hero is coming home.

Former North High star Khalid El-Amin is returning to the gym that made him a legend, as he has been announced as an assistant coach of the Polars’ boys varsity basketball team – a team that has won back-to-back state championships. According to Polars Head Coach Larry McKenzie, the decision to bring El-Amin on had been made some time ago, but the two kept it under wraps until this past Wednesday (Nov. 8). READ MORE…


Minneapolis North flips their script with second straight Class A basketball title

Fox 9 (March 9, 2017)

Minneapolis North cruised to their second straight boys class A-state title over the weekend, winning by 47 points.

But despite recent success, the team still plays like they have something to prove.

“They played like that all year.. they were on a mission,” said Head Coach Larry McKenzie.

Many of the 2017 Polars have been playing together since they were kids. But, whether or not they would ever play together at North High was in doubt when just five years ago the school nearly closed because of falling enrollment.

READ MORE…


Hoops dreams realized for two area stars

Insight News (November 15, 2016)

A couple of area hoop stars signed their letters of intent to play Division I basketball next season.

Park Center’s Mikayla Hayes and North Community High’s Isaac Johnson signed letters of intent on Nov. 9, the first day high school students can sign. Hayes, a two-time state champion, two time state all-tournament team selection and a tournament final game MVP signed to play for and attend the University of Florida on a full scholarship. At 6’2”, Hayes will play forward for Gators, who have a top 25 program. READ MORE…


Beyond X’s and O’s: Prep basketball’s Larry McKenzie spreads his creed, players become believers

University of St. Thomas (November, 2016)

Anyone who has played for Larry McKenzie has heard “the creed.”

Former Minneapolis North two-sport star Tyler Johnson heard it before he was a Division I athlete at the University of Minnesota. Former Minneapolis Patrick Henry player Johnnie Gilbert heard it before he was playing basketball for the Oklahoma Sooners. Nick Anderson, a former student manager for McKenzie at Academy of Holy Angels whose abilities were doubted by many due to his cerebral palsy, has heard it and not forgotten it.

“It is something that I still live by today,” said Anderson, now a college student. “That is one thing that really sticks out about coach McKenzie is that when you are done with his program, the things he says before or after practice, during games, things that are life lessons, not just X’s and O’s, they stick with you.” READ MORE…


Keeping Your Heart in the Game

St. Thomas (October 18, 2016)

With just seconds remaining in the 2014 Class 1A Section 4 championship boys basketball game, Minneapolis North High School junior Jamil Jackson drove the length of the court and put up the tying layup against Maranatha Christian Academy. Except the ball didn’t go in. It rolled off the front edge, setting off polar opposite reactions: Maranatha celebrated a trip to the state tournament and North players wept over such a heartbreaking defeat.

In 2015 a rematch of those same teams ended in a tie after regulation, and in overtime North again found itself down 2 points in the final seconds. And again, a shot clanked off the rim to seal another loss. READ MORE…


Larry McKenzie becomes first African-American inducted to state basketball coaches hall of fame

Insight News

Larry McKenzie, North High School’s basketball coach, was among four inductees to the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association (MBCA) Hall of Fame on Nov. 1.

The Hall of Fame recognizes Minnesota coaches who have made significant contributions to high school basketball through their achievements and service. McKenzie is the first African-American coach to receive this honor. READ MORE…


Coach McKenzie weighs in on discussion of police brutality

Insight News (August 18, 2014)

“We have to be the change we wish to see,” said Larry McKenzie, Charter School Liaison for Pillsbury United Communities and celebrated Boy’s Basketball Coach for Minneapolis North High School. “The youth don’t know the people serving the community. They fear (both) the perpetrators, and those serving them in leadership. Then they read all the stuff going on everywhere and think it’s the usual. It doesn’t leave (the youth) in a position of comfort,” he said. READ MORE…