Lincoln graduate hired to lead Milan boys’ basketball team
Milan was Nate Edwards III’s bitter rival when he played high school basketball.
The 2000 graduate of Ypsilanti Lincoln remembers many memorable battles with the Big Reds.
Now Edwards is changing colors.
He was hired on Friday to replace Chris Pope as Milan’s college basketball coach.
“It’s funny,” Edwards said. “Today I met Mr. Hull (Milan athletic director Robert Hull) and he showered me with as much red and black gear as I could wear.
Hull said Edwards stood out from other candidates during the interview process.
“When Coach Edwards was interviewed for the job you could tell he was extremely passionate about this place, and he exemplifies what it means to be a Milan Big Red,” he said. “We share the same mindset and vision and I am delighted to see him leading our men’s basketball program.”
Edwards is excited about this opportunity.
“I think this is the perfect situation for me at the perfect time,” he said. “The coaching staff and I will make this program an annual winner and a lasting breeding ground for Champions by building a culture of hard work, high character, tenacity and excellence.
Edwards is a busy man.
The 37-year-old runs two businesses in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area – Veteran’s Catering and Icon Elite Athletics. Icon Elite trains and develops young athletes.
He served 12 years in the United States Army.
He and his wife, Tre, have nine children – seven girls and two boys aged 19 to 1.
He studied business in eastern Michigan and started his coaching career 13 years ago at Lincoln, working with the college freshmen and juniors.
He spent time with Jalen Rose Academy in Detroit, then returned to Lincoln for a year before coaching junior college and serving as an academic assistant at Ypsilanti Arbor Prep for the past six years.
He was immediately intrigued when he heard about the Milan opening.
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“Obviously, they have a championship pedigree, winning the state championship in 2014,” he said. “I liked the facilities and the journey time is very close for me. Me being a Lincoln guy, we’ve always played Milan in the past. I like the family approach and the attention to detail.
“I believe we can build a winner here.”
Pope, who stepped down as head coach in May after undergoing back surgery, was on the committee that hired Edwards.
Four of the five starters and many of his 2-10 team’s key substitutes from last season will be back in 2021-22.
“He didn’t leave the closet exposed,” Edwards said. “I thanked him several times. It will certainly still be connected to the program in one way or another.
Edwards has put together a 30-day game to prepare his team for summer activities.
“I’m ready to hit the gym this week,” he said.
He has a meeting with the parents of the players scheduled for Wednesday.
“I want to create an energy and a buzz around Milanese basketball,” he said.