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Minnesota high school basketball coaching legend Larry McKenzie announces retirement

WCCO Digital Update: Morning of July 26, 2022
WCCO Digital Update: Morning of July 26, 2022 01:05

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minnesota basketball icon is walking away from the game.

Larry McKenzie, who coached Patrick Henry to four straight state titles and won two more at Minneapolis North, announced his retirement Monday. He is the only coach in Minnesota history to win four titles in a row, and the only coach to lead two different schools to multiple titles.

"I have been blessed to work with some incredible, gifted, and talented young men and women who allowed me to inspire them to become champions in the classroom, their families, the community and on the hardwood," McKenzie said.

McKenzie's Patrick Henry teams won the AAA state championship every year from 2000-2003, and after a stint at the Academy of Holy Angels, he took over the program at Minneapolis North. In the two years before McKenzie came onboard, the Polars had eight total wins and two last-place finishes. He led them to state championships in 2016 and 2017, and a second-place finish in 2019.

In 2014, McKenzie became the first African American coach to be inducted into the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Earlier this year, he was also made a Hall of Famer by the Minnesota State High School League.

Off the court, McKenzie is well regarded as an exemplar for young people in the community. He has served on the board for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Minneapolis, as well as the North Community YMCA, Northside Development Council and other organizations. He was once named Volunteer of the Year by the Minneapolis Park Board.

"Words cannot express my gratitude and appreciation to my players, assistant coaches, parents, and administrations who have supported my on my journey," McKenzie said. "While this is a difficult decision, I leave contented in the effort I gave to the honorable profession of coaching, yet humbly submit I gained as much, if not more, from others as I ever gave to them."

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