Detroit, MI — Wednesday, February 4 is going to be a big night at the Palace of Auburn Hills for the Southeastern High School of Technology students, staff, parents, friends, and especially the Principal, Brenda Gatlin. Ms. Gatlin will be taking ‘center court’ at the Pistons-Miami Heat game where she will be honored by the team during half-time, for her outstanding coaching and service to youth basketball.

After college, from 1969 to 1986 Ms. Gatlin made great strides and set new standards in the tough business of coaching young basketball players. The result was a distinguished career that included becoming the first woman to coach a Detroit Public School League basketball team that won three consecutive PSL (Public School League) City Championships; the first woman to coach a boys high school Class A varsity basketball team (Cass Tech); and the first to coach a team that won the Triple Crown of high school basketball – the PSL City, Operations Friendship (Catholic vs. Public Schools), and the State Championships in one year. It was the Northeastern High School girls’ team and their accomplishment was the first in the history of the PSL for boys or girls.

Her numerous honors include recognition by the Detroit Public Schools District, the MHSAA (Michigan High School Athletic Association) Women in Sports Leadership Award; The Spirit of Detroit; Coach of the Year by the Free Press and Detroit News; the Booker T. Washington Business Association Educator’s Award; the Detroit Public Schools PSL Lifetime Achievement Award; induction into the Detroit Public School League Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame; and named a United Press International Coach of the Year.

A closer look at Ms. Gatlin’s background makes her accomplishments even more significant. “Early in my teaching career I was asked to coach. I knew nothing about basketball-I was a dance teacher, but our kids’ were really getting trounced on the court and I had to do something. So I learned the game inside and out and actually applied some of my dance principles to it. Movement is movement. I was determined that the players would not hit the court unprepared. It was not only a sports commitment, it was a commitment to also helping to prepare the students for handling life challenges as well,” said Ms. Gatlin.

At the Palace, Ms. Gatlin will be joined by many Southeastern students who will be able to share her moment. They will be allowed to take photographs with the Pistons’ Championship trophies and go on the court to take a shot or two at the baskets.

But there’s more. Pistons are adding a special touch to the evening that will benefit every student in the school. They are donating $10 from the sales price of every ticket to Southeastern High School.

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