Sports With Coach Tony

Coach Monique







By: Coach Tony Branch

Today is a great & exciting day for me; because I get a chance to expose the country to some wonderful individuals giving back to their community in their own unique way. This year, I would like to showcase a few of these individuals, and tell their unique story; like network TV told my story / journey.

Today, we want to show some love to a young & talented female coach from the Philadelphia area. I get the opportunity to talk to so many people, coaches and business people throughout my various travels. I found this individual that I’m bringing before you today, exceeded the norm here in America; and she should be recognized for her community work. Please enjoy her story & results; and, if you ever see her around the town, please thank her for the community service she gives to mankind. I did pay my respect, because she deserved it; and most of all, earned it. Now, let’s enjoy her journey to her “uniqueness.”

Coach Monique Boykins, Head Coach of the Penn Wood Lady Patriots High School Basketball Team; a school in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Coach Boykins’ life wasn’t a bed of roses by far; a daughter of parents who had substance abuse problems; and the problems that comes along with being in that kind of situation.  She was raised by her loving grandmother, ever since the 7th grade.  While attending school, Monique found that love and passion for the game of basketball. While in high school, she became a standout basketball player, the game gave her a place to escape to; and to just do normal things like everyone else. She was also involved in other school activities, like the marching band & track, & being a Girl Scout.  She didn’t let her home life situation hold her back, or hold her down (no excuses).

Coach Boykins loves the church; she remembers going to church by herself at a very young age. Still today, she loves it; and knows who watches over her daily. She is spiritually grounded. Coach Boykins was a standout basketball player, at the high school that she now coaches at today; with her name still on the wall of fame for her tenacity for rebounding. This love of the game gave her the chance to obtain a basketball scholarship to Kutztown University here in Pennsylvania. Ms. Monique Boykins was also a standout there, again being a rebounding machine, and putting up impressive numbers.

Mr. Roy Lewis was a mentor to her in her high school years. He told her to not to give up on her dreams. A great quote she gave me is, “You can’t teach passion, but her passion can rub off on others; you can touch someone’s life with it.”  Wow! She’s truly passionate about life, and wants to see all young girls achieve their dreams. Wow.

Monique loved science and was told sometime earlier, “why are you taking these hard classes”; she believes that she came to college to obtain a college degree in the field that she loved, Biology. She made a difficulty decision to forego her senior year of basketball to dedicate more time to her studies; because she understood that her passion (basketball) would get in the way of her dream (to be a scientist).

After graduating college, she did have the opportunity to play overseas. When she came back from overseas and was working in corporate America, she felt the call to service (give back to her community and help other young ladies fulfill their dreams). Yes, most coaches teach the X’s and O’s, and are measured by their wins & losses. Coach Monique felt that the players as a whole, weren’t meeting their full potential and wanted to change their “mindset” about life & college. She wanted basketball to be a useful vehicle to help get the girls to their dream.

Coach Monique Boykins in a short time, has turned a struggling girls’ basketball program to a team you better look out for (these young ladies can play!).  She shows them love on & off the court, but do believe in discipline; now the girls see things in life a little bit differently; they see the possibilities & expect to be successful. Grades are up, & now going to college is a goal for all of her players; “success breeds success”.

Players like Lorna Caesar & Simone Walker, spoke of their coach in such high regards, smiling the whole time. “She’s like a big sister to us,” they both told me separately; and the smiles on their faces were priceless. Coach Monique makes herself available to her players 24/7; often meeting them at other schools’ basketball games when they’re not playing. The players love being around one another; and winning as an collective group just strengthens the bond that’s already there. The all male assistant coaches also love her as much as the players; “she’s the captain of this ship” hands down. A staff that truly works together, to maximize the hidden potential in each young lady.

After watching them play & win one night, and being in their locker room during the post game speech; I realized something. This isn’t a basketball team, it’s a “family”. The love & encouragement I saw goes around that locker room between them all; letting me know this program is unique in itself.

The Penn Wood HS Girls Basketball has already won; no championship trophy or any title can replace what I saw happen before my eyes that day. I went back a few times to watch the team play; to make sure I saw things for what they were. I’m proud to say this coach & program is the “real deal”; and should be duplicated in other inner city schools. Coaching & truly caring about your players, beyond the norm should be an mandatory requirement by all coaches, period.

Coach Monique Boykins’ love for service doesn’t stop there; to keep the middle age girls engaged & on the right track, she created a summer traveling team called, “Team Success”. The team name says it all, and the expectations for the 7th & 8th grade are just as high; the sky is the limit for her new program.

Continued success Coach Monique Boykins, in all your personal & professional endeavors…

FYI- It was truly an honor to tell Coach Boykins’ story. Now, I’m a big fan of hers and the young ladies with so much character @ Penn Wood High School.


Coach Tony Branch
“Sports Writer for Gigare Lifestyle  Magazine”

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