MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - There is some displeasure in the Minneapolis North High School Athletics Community after the Polars recently went outside the North High family to hire their new boys basketball coach.
It's a high-profile position at the city school and the decision to pass over favored community son Khalid El-Amin is not sitting well with some while a petition calling for immediate change garners more than 1,000 signatures.
An absolute Minneapolis North legend, Khalid El-Amin would celebrate three state championships as a member of the Polars. El-Amin also won a national title at UConn and played professionally for the Chicago Bulls and, for years, overseas.
More recently, he has coached the high school boys at Saint Thomas Academy. But when the high-profile North coaching job opened this year following the retirement of Hall of Fame coach Larry McKenzie, the school passed over El-Amin, hiring a community outsider in former Timberwolves player Ricky Davis.
"This outright disrespect," said Khalid's brother Makram El-Amin. "Disrespect for people who have been in the community, vested in the community. We live, work, play, pray in this community. We are all about north Minneapolis."
Khalid El-Amin (left) was inducted in the Minnesota High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018, as part of the first-ever class of honorees. (FOX 9)
The El-Amin family is furious including Khalid’s older brother and nephew. But the outrage over the decision extends well beyond these loved ones, as some comments on the North High Facebook page announcing the Davis hiring late last week show. The petition launched by the dad of another North superstar athlete in NFLer Tyler Johnson had nearly 1,000 signatures at last check calling for El-Amin’s hiring as boys hoops coach.
"So it's a lot of tradition, you know, it's a lot of history, winning history, you know, and we've been a part of a lot of it," said nephew Malik El-Amin. "So, again, I'm just questioning why, why, why?"
While Khalid El-Amin did not make himself personally available to FOX 9, our sources have confirmed the now 43 year old was the runner-up to Davis. The school’s announcement on the coaching hire from August 19 reports there were a pair of finalists who emerged through an interview committee with the final decision, "the most difficult."
FOX 9 is told that North principal Mauri Friestleben had significant influence in the process. As for comment for our reporting on Wednesday, Principal Friestleben told us via email that North High staff was on a retreat and thus unable to speak about the seemingly growing controversy within the community.
The El-Amin certainly hopes this isn’t the last word on the boys basketball coaching job.
"The idea of it being a community school, you know, suggests that there should be a community person that is there leading the charge," said Makram.