July 2, 2014
Earlier this year, Director of Athletics Norwood Teague announced the hire of Marlene Stollings as the new Head Women's Basketball Coach at the University of Minnesota. Stollings promises to bring an up-tempo, exciting style of basketball to the Barn as the new leader of the Gopher women's hoops program.
The following is an excerpt from a feature piece titled "Hitting the Court Running" which not only previews what to expect from Stollings' Gophers, but also looks back on her accomplishments as a player and a coach prior to coming to the Twin Cities.
Be sure to check out the entire piece, as well as other great articles about outstanding Gopher student-athletes and teams, in the July 2014 issue of Ski-U-Mah, which is available in print at Gopher Athletics venues and online at GopherSports.com.
Stollings grew up in the village of Beaver, Ohio, home to 444 citizens and one stoplight. She was only an hour and a half away from Columbus and attended Ohio State games in various sports. The women's basketball team was highly successful in that era and traffic would be backed up behind the exits to get to the arena, she said.
Meanwhile, she was developing her own competitive edge.
"I started shooting a basketball when I was five years old. I can remember like it was yesterday," she said. "I could remember back at a very early age just having an innate desire to succeed."
Basketball was huge in Ohio; she remembers the high school gym being filled for boys' basketball games. And she dreamed as a youngster of packing the gym for her own games. "I had that dream and vision going into middle school," she said.
When she got to high school they were opening half of the four rows of bleachers on one side of the court for girls' games. Later that year it was the entire side. By the beginning of her sophomore year they opened the bleachers on both sides of the gym, and by end of that year the band was playing, too. In her junior year, the fire marshal was at the games and it was standing room only--just like the boys game of her youth.
The team became the best show in town--and the talk of the state--as Stollings pursued the all-time basketball scoring record in Ohio, boys or girls.
"I was averaging 40 points-a-game and people were coming to see that. College coaches, some of them, had to talk their way in the door," she laughed.
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