Flint basketball legend Tonya Edwards returns home
Edwards is the new head coach of the Carman-Ainsworth girls basketball team
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Tonya Edwards is one of the most decorated and accomplished athlete to ever call Flint home.
When asked why did she want to come home her answer was pretty simple.
“Flint is home,” said Tonya. “Flint has a lot to offer and you have a lot of young talent here.”
Before becoming the head coach for Carman-Ainsworth girls’ basketball team, Tonya Edwards was a champion as a player
Not just on the high school level, where at Flint Northwestern she won two state championships in the 80s.
But, on the collegiate level as well while playing for the winningest women’s college basketball coach ever, Pat Summitt.
“I remember us walking out the pool one day and she asked me, ‘Tonya would you rather have people like or respect you?’ And at that point it was her way of telling me, ‘Hey, bring it every day,’” said Tonya.
Edwards didn’t let her coach down, helping the University of Tennessee capture two NCAA championships, and as a freshman was named the tournament’s ‘Most Outstanding Player’ in 1987.
After college Edwards would go on to play professionally overseas, then in the American Basketball league where she won two championships with the Columbus Quest, and in 1998 was drafted to the WNBA by the Minnesota Lynx.
While playing Tonya was also pursuing another career path.
“When I left Tennessee. I told Pat Summit, ‘I’m never going to coach,” Tonya laughs. “And low-and-behold I’m coaching and I’m like no!”
From 1990 to 1995 Edwards coached at her alma mater Northwestern and won the Division “A” state championship in 1993 with a 27-0 record.
Her coaching career would lead her to coach collegiately at Detroit Mercy and Alcorn State, then back to the WNBA in 2016 as an assistant coach where she helped guide the Los Angeles Sparks to a championship.
Through the purple and gold confetti, Tonya got to see the league protest the injustices down to the black community and police brutality.
“I’m extremely proud of the young ladies,” said Edwards. “It’s funny because basketball always brings people together and if we can come together at a game why can’t we come together on the street? We have to make people aware of the different injustices that happen on the daily basis. We have to clamp down and things have to get better.”
That starts locally and having Edwards with all of her winning experience return home will not only do wonders for Carman-Ainsworth girls’ basketball team but for Flint.
“That’s huge; that’s the heart of a champion. That’s a person that wants to leaves a legacy. So, what she’s done is somebody had invested time in her when she was a child so that she could realize her dream. Now she became successful and traveled all over the world as a champion then she said I’m going back to where I came from and I’m going to invest in those young people to let them know how it’s done,” said Linnel Jones-McKenney, Flint basketball legend.
Tonya explains, “I had a village growing up here in Flint. There’s nothing like home… They always say too much is given, much is deserved.’ So, it’s time for me to come back and pay my dues.”
Tonya Edwards is a winner, always has been always will be, and for this community, it’s great to see the Flintstone champ return to the vehicle city.
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