Melinda Harrison was another in a long line of sensational female athletes to grace the North high campus in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. The Lady Stars took a back seat to no one in the Valley when it came to all the sports. And people like Melina were a big part of the success as the popularity of women’s athletics began to grow.
She started three years on the varsity in volleyball and basketball plus two other years on the varsity softball team. She was talented in all three sports. In volleyball as a senior she was a 2nd team all-SYL selection and voted the team’s most inspirational. In basketball she was all-league twice and all-Area all three years on the varsity. As a senior she was the SYL’s Most Valuable Player, and made the all-Northern Cal all-Star team. In softball, she made 2nd team all-League as a senior.
The team accomplishments were also impressive. In 1982 as a sophomore, Melinda and the Lady Stars volleyball team went to the Valley playoffs for the first time. She was coached by Pat Mellan. Her basketball teams under the leadership of Tom McQuinn went to the playoffs all three of her varsity seasons. In 1985 they lost in the Valley finals to Delano, their first loss of the year as they finished with an incredible record of 24-1.
After high school, Melinda received a full ride for basketball at the University of San Francisco. She played softball as a freshman but the school dropped the sport after that season. So she concentrated on basketball. As a junior at USF she was twice named conference “Player of the Week” and then named “Player of the Month” for January. In addition, she made the all-Conference team. She suffered a leg injury going into her senior season and received a “Medical Redshirt,” allowing her to play a 5th season. As a senior at USF she was again named “Player of the Week” and another time “Scholar Athlete of the Week.” She topped off her career at USF by being named all-Conference and the team’s MVP.
In between her soph/junior year she played basketball in Europe with a travel team. And again between her junior/senior years she played basketball in Russia for two month with a travel team. She called this a great experience in her life.
Originally she had hopes of attaining a teaching credential at USF but due to the leg injury she had to work to stay in school and never got the degree. So she returned home in 1992 and began coaching girl’s basketball at North and stayed on for 19 years (2 on the frosh/soph team and 17 on the JV squad). One of her basketball players, Breanna James, became the North High girl’s coach this past season and asked her to be an assistant which she did.
She began worked for BARC locally in 1993 and stayed there for 19 years and recently took a job with MOVE Int., helping people with disabilities.
She would tell you her greatest memories of North High were being part of the girl’s basketball dynasty, playing in front of a packed gym and the roar of the crowd when the team was introduced. And the expectations of winning because they were North High girl’s basketball. Her other great memory “was walking back in the North High gym as a coach and feeling the nostalgia of girl’s basketball. And having an opportunity to give back to the school who gave me so much.”