Each season, there are plenty of high school basketball events that take place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

But the girls event Trinity High School hosts on Jan. 16 is unique. All 14 teams participating are coached by African Americans, something that organizer and Trinity coach Kim Coleman purposely had in mind.

“I wanted to create a safe space for Black coaches where they can be highlighted,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything for us to display all the work we put into our programs. 

“Kids want to see coaches that look like them so that they can relate, whether it’s a head or assistant coach.”

Coleman couldn’t have picked a better time to schedule an MLK Shootout. All three local high schools — OPRF, Fenwick and Trinity – simultaneously, and for the first time, have African American coaches.

“To have three head coaches that are African American says a lot about where we’re going in Oak Park, both as programs and schools,” said OPRF coach Carlton Rosemond. 

“It just shows that diversity is starting to pick up,” Fenwick coach Lenae Fergerson said. “For us to have these opportunities is big.”

Coleman said OPRF and Fenwick were two of the first programs she contacted when developing the event.

“We wanted to highlight our area schools,” she stated. “We stay connected and talk with each other.”

Coleman also thanked Trinity athletic director Ken Trendel for his support regarding the event.

“It doesn’t happen without the backing of the administration,” she said.

For their part, both Rosemond and Fergerson are looking forward to participating.

“It’s a good event and we’re glad to be a part of it,” Rosemond said. “It’s an important day in our culture and we’re celebrating Dr. King by doing one of the things we love. It’s good for our Black players to see them in prominent positions, and it’s good for our White players to see the equality in the coaching profession.”

“I was excited when Kim Coleman told me about it,” Fergerson said. “Everyone knows what that day is all about and to show the growth of the diversity is good for girls basketball in our area.”

Here is the schedule for the Trinity MLK Shootout (local schools in bold):

  • 9 a.m., Walther Christian vs. Senn
  • 10:45 a.m., Hope Academy vs. Westinghouse 
  • 12:30 p.m., Phillips vs. Orr
  • 2:15 p.m., Fenwick vs. Taft
  • 4 p.m., OPRF vs. Hyde Park 
  • 5:45 p.m., Deerfield vs. Mother McAuley 
  • 7:30 p.m., Trinity vs. Butler Prep

Tickets are $10 each for general admission ($6 for students) and are good for all seven games. They will be available at the door on game day.

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