In his first week as Eden Prairie High School’s new activities coordinator, Trevor Mbakwe experienced his first Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament.
OK, he may have experienced his first high school hockey game.
Having served as Irondale High School’s assistant athletic director, Mbakwe comes to Eden Prairie with activities experience. In addition, he’s nearly completed his master’s degree in sports management.
The former Big Ten rebounding champion played seven years of professional basketball overseas. His teams have hailed from Italy, Germany, Israel, Russia, Japan and Greece.
“I saw a lot of the world,” said Mbakwe.
He started playing college basketball at Marquette before transferring to the University of Minnesota.
“When my coach left for Indiana, I made the decision to come home,” said Mbakwe.
Mbakwe played high school basketball at Henry Sibley. He graduated in 2007.
When asked what lured him to Eden Prairie, Mbakwe talked of opportunity.
“There’s a great history at Eden Prairie,” he said. “I saw an opening and jumped at the opportunity.”
He’s most looking forward to working with student-athletes and their parents.
The Eden Prairie activities coordinator opening attracted a pool of nearly 120 applicants.
“We had a lot of strong candidates,” said Russ Reetz, Associate Principal of Activities and Athletics – Eden Prairie Schools.
When asked about the winning candidate, Reetz said his brother, a principal in the Mounds View School District, had heard lots of good things about Mbakwe.
“He was the sitting activities director at Irondale,” said Reetz. “He has experience with scheduling and event management and I knew he’d hit the ground running.”
What didn’t he know?
“He’s a kid magnet,” laughed Reetz.
Having already navigated the recruitment process, Reetz said Mbakwe has a unique perspective.
“He’ll be able to take those experiences and put them in front of kids and their families,” said Reetz.
“It’s a once in-a-lifetime experience,” said Mbakwe, of being recruited as a student athlete.
In his next breath, he admits that the constant communication can be overwhelming.
“I can be a help,” he said. “I’ve been through all that.”
As an aside, expect Mbakwe to also help with Eden Prairie’s basketball team.
“I’m hoping that’s part of the plan,” he said.
Mbakwe’s first impression of Eden Prairie High School was immediate.
“There’s a lot of space here,” he said.
There are also more fields, more students and more activities.
“I’ve been here three weeks,” said Mbakwe, “and it’s been a blur.”
Kind of like a hockey puck?