Ravenna basketball coach Phil Starks is the only African-American coach in the Portage Trail Conference. TV2’s Zach Harley takes a closer look inside the Ravens locker room and sees what coach Starks really means to this Ravenna squad.
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The Ravenna basketball team’s sideline may look a little different to some than the rest of the conference. That’s because after Kent-Roosevelt head coach Cameron Black retired from the game last year, Ravenna’s Phil Starks became the only African-American head coach in the Portage Trail Conference. According to Starks, he says
“[they] get looked at differently” than the rest of the league because he, as well as his assistant coaches, are African-American. Starks goes on to say it means a lot him to be the only African-American coach in the conference and will continue to coach to the best of his ability with what he’s given.
But his players say they don’t care what color his skin is as long as he stays who he is. Like senior Danny Miller who explains how Starks “does everything for [them], washes [their] uniforms, hangs them up in
[their] lockers . . . [he’ll do] anything he can to help [them] win.”
Everyone is friends and no one fights, it’s like everyone’s happy with the way everything’s going. – Ty-Shawn Dukes
What Starks also does that outsiders may not notice is unite a locker room into one big family, as senior Ty-Shawn Dukes says “everyone is friends and no one fights, it’s like everyone’s happy with the way
everything’s going.” That alone speaks testament to the job Phil Starks has done to this club, after a couple of rough seasons.
Starks just completed his ninth season coaching the Ravens after leading them to a falling in the Warren Division II District semifinal tournament to number one seed Poland Bulldogs; 64 to 52. Ravenna ended their season with a 14 and 10 record going 8 and 4 in conference play. Starks will have a whole new team next year, so stay tuned.