MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Larry McKenzie has been a fixture in Minnesota high school basketball for decades, and now he feels he’s back where he belongs.
That’s in a city gym in Minneapolis.
“I just felt like I needed to come back to the city,” McKenzie said. “Because these are the kids that really, really needed me.”
It was in the city, at Patrick Henry High School, where McKenzie did what no other Minnesota boys basketball coach has ever done: Win four straight state titles.
“We got those kids over there, really, to believe that it was possible,” McKenzie said. “But it was going to take some hard work. And basically they bought in. And so that’s part of what we’re trying to do here.”
Here at Minneapolis North. A team with just eight wins over the last two seasons and back to back last place conference finishes, McKenzie left a successful program at Holy Angels to take it on.
“I would go to games in the city,” McKenzie said, “and I just, there was something there that was missing. And so, again, I just felt like I needed to come back and find it.”
McKenzie has passion for the program that he wears on his sleeve and credibility that he wears on his hand. His players know his history, and also his expectations.
“We’re going to act like champions, we’re going to walk like champions, we’re going to talk like champions,” he said.
That’s coming from a guy who is well aware of what it’s like to be a champion and believes that’s on the horizon for Minneapolis North too.
“I see something in them right now that they can’t see,” McKenzie said. “So that’s what assures me that this could be the same kind of situation.”