Coach, Father, and Friend
I feel in my eight years as the head coach at the University of Minnesota I had the pleasure to get to know Larry McKenzie as a coach, father, and friend. I am here to say he excels at all thread. Everyone knows what a first class coach Larry is – his record speaks for itself. What most people in the stands do not know is that he is every bit as good of a person as he is a coach. He trusted me to coach his son and I would return that honor in a heartbeat!
Dan Monson Head Coach, Long Beach State (former Head Coach, University of Minnesota)
Always have been a big fan of how you conduct yourself and mentor your players on and off the court. Minnesota basketball has truly been blessed from all your contributions. You have given inspiration and direction to many kids. Thank you.
Inspiring and Filled with Knowledge
Thanks for your inspiring and knowledge-filled speech and presentation at today’s Lunch and Learn. As would be expected of McKenzie-coached youths, your young players were poised and informative as well!
So far I have received 3 -4 feedbacks of “awesome” and at least 2 of “almost in tears.” I’m sure we will be hearing more such sentiments over the coming days.
Forming Hearts and Minds for Successful Kids
Coach McKenzie is celebrated for his ability to build winning basketball teams. The way I see it, his greatest success isn’t in what he does in basketball. At its core, what Coach is doing is building great young men – repeatedly, consistently, dramatically. He is forming great young men who distinguish themselves through academic excellence, hard work, mutual respect and a commitment to a sound set of values and principles that will guide them for the remainder of their lives. The championship trophies would not exist at all without what Coach has done to form the hearts and minds of these young men.
It is particularly remarkable that Coach is making such a success of kids who have so much stacked against them - which is proof, in my mind, that our most neglected and broken communities are as they are not because of something inherently wrong with them, but because there aren’t enough people, like Coach, that care to make the necessary sacrifices of love, accountability, consistency and mentorship with the youngest of those communities, thereby intervening in the too-oft repeated cycle of despair, anger, violence, and poverty.
When Coach McKenzie delivered his speech to my Rotary club, there were tears in the audience. Such is the power of his message.
Inspiration and Expertise
Larry McKenzie brings a sense of urgency to the work of school change by establishing with love and vision the stakes of the work in terms of the students and families most affected by leadership and policy decisons.
Larry couples his inspirational message with deep expertise about the work of school leadership and organizational change.Â Folks lucky enough to hear from Larry will emerge heartened, activated and ready to pursue the work of educational justice with a greater sense of purpose and determination.
Katie Barrett Kramer Founder, The School Leadership Project
Content of a Person’s Character
Mr. McKenzie came to speak to our school in honor of Martin Luther King day. He spoke about the ‘content of a person’s character’, and how to make the most out of life. He shared stories that the kids could identify with and react to. He had an impact on the student body that was felt days after his speech. I would recommend Coach McKenzie to any organization.
Stephanie Nitchals Diversity Coordinator – Academy of Holy Angels
Great Moments – Demonstrating Class
I just wanted to make sure you understand how good of a job you are doing with your young men. They battled hard and I was very impressed with them all night long. But I wanted to pin-point something that deserves a compliment.
At the end of the game when the two teams huddled up at half court to pray together there were some pretty cool moments. First, your guys decided to mix it up and not all stand together but intermingle with each of our guys. This was a great moment.
Then one of your players came over to one of our captains and gave him the opportunity to pray for the group. He was very honored to be asked to pray. We know that not all schools even allow this. So, we want to say "thank you" for allowing us to be a part of this great moment.
Then at the end, some of your guys told our guys to stay and chanted “family” together with our guys. Your young men showed so much class and they deserve to be acknowledged for showing such good sportsmanship and class throughout the game and evening. Please let them know that we have nothing but respect for them and we wish you all the best of luck going forward in the tournament.
J.P. Lindgren, Athletic Director / Head Boys Basketball Coach
Privileged to Know
Larry McKenzie is bright, hard working and an inspiration to me and the young men he coaches and mentors. It has been a privilege of mine to have known Larry the last ten years. I consider him a friend and a blessing in my life. He is an outstanding coach and an even better person.
Jim Shaw Assistant Coach, University of Washington
Unlocking Brilliant Youth
You discovered a brilliant youth locked inside every student and provided a pathway for those students to birth their uniqueness to harness history. Through your countless efforts, minority high school dropped rate is reduced. Thank you.
Mfon Archibon Director – Urban League Academy Elementary School
Inspiring and Encouraging Message
As I mentioned in our meeting yesterday, I loved the last Lunch & Learn with Coach McKenzie! What an inspiring man and encouraging message and example of “top leadership” and humility. The people sitting next to me agreed, saying it was their favorite of the year.
I appreciated his honesty, faith, and display of character. I also enjoyed the Q&A with the players that joined him.
We all need to hear the message of using the 86,400 seconds we have in a day for a good purpose and the influence we can have on other people’s lives by investing in people and truly caring about the person, not just the sport in this case.
I also appreciated that he mentioned books other than his own, such as “Relentless”.
Thanks for bringing in an excellent speaker and role model.
Michelle Xcel Energy
Clear and Concise Message
Coach McKenzie delivers a clear and concise message that empowers his audience. In addition to mapping out a plan for success, he also engages those listening by bringing positive energy and enthusiasm to every word he speaks. I’ve heard many speakers through the years and he is certainly among the best.
Joel Lampe Program Associate, STEP-UP Achieve
An Inspiring Representation
I have had the pleasure of hearing Larry speak over the past 5 years to our students before they journey into high school as a part of our school’s Rites of Passage process. His representation has come nothing short of inspiring.
I have always taught students who can be a tough audience, to say the least, but he completely captures them with his energy, his conviction, and the undeniable truth of his message – which is one that should be shared with all students across not only the United States, but the world. With his style and grace, he would be a huge asset to ANY group or school who is looking for an amazing, one-of-a-kind speaker. His ability to connect to a variety of personalities, cultures, and ages is a true gift!
Tiffanie Brooks Teacher
Public awards to you for immeasurable compassion toward our urban youths are not enough to acknowledge your hard works in the urban schools and communities. Your most creative ‘magic wand’ in dealing with the youths in our school paid off as you creatively taught students how to connect the PAST-PRESENT-FUTURE to make reasonable choices that guaranteed their future in the society.
Testimonies received from the students expresses their gratitude to your heart-to-heart mentorship relationship with them. “They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.”