Duluth Basketball Coach Will Starks Passes Away
Former East Assistant Coach and Founder of Will Starks Basketball League was 49 Years Old
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The Duluth basketball community is mourning the loss of long–time area coach Will Starks.
Starks, 49, passed away early Thursday morning at the Mayo clinic from complications due to a heart defect.
Not only was Starks an assistant coach at Duluth East for many years, he was influential in youth basketball circles.
The Will Starks Basketball League has been around for more than 20 years and serves as a testament to his impact on basketball in Duluth and will be part of his legacy, not only to the game, but to the many lives he touched.
Players like former Duluth East standouts Quinton and Shaquille Coleman, who remember ‘The General’, as Starks was called as a tough but caring coach and father figure.
“You know, he pushed us to the wall and made us work harder,” said Quinton Coleman, who now runs track at the University of Minnesota. “He knew that we all could better than we thought, not just as basketball players, but as athletes. He wanted to get us all to the next level.”
“He always wanted to make sure we were doing the right things,” said Shaquille Coleman, who played basketball at North Iowa Area Community College last season. “If we weren’t in the gym with him, he’d text us to see how we were doing, make sure we were staying out of trouble. You know, he was just always there.”
“His first love was his family, but his second love was this game,” added former Duluth East Head Coach Chuck Tolo. “He didn’t care who he teaches it to. He doesn’t care what their skin color is, he doesn’t care what their ability is.but the one thing he makes sure they do is, they better be ready to work. Kids had to work hard.”
A service for Starks will be held in his hometown of Milwaukee. A local celebration of his life will be held sometime in the next couple of weeks.