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Saying Goodbye To A Legend — Winfield’s ’90-91 King Crusaders Clubs Were His Best

By: SCOTT M. BURNSTEIN, March 29, 2021, 1:51 am

The early 1990s was a prosperous time for the Detroit King girls basketball program. The Godfather of lady ballerdom in the D made sure of that. King’s 1990 and 1991 teams were some of the most lethal the MHSAA has ever witnessed.

Detroit King’s William Winfield, the PSL’s own Geno Auriemma for the past four decades, died earlier this month of a stroke in his home in Southfield at 78, leaving behind a mammoth legacy. 

He was laid to rest last week, with a Friday funeral. 

The third winningest girls basketball coach in MHSAA history (698 wins), Winfield won five state titles at King, turning the Crusaders into a nationally-recognized blue blood on the Midwest lady high school hoops circuit. He took over the King program in 1984. His reign atop the cage kingdom he personally constructed came to an end when he had to bow out in the middle of King’s 2018 playoff run.

The 1990 King squad was Winfield’s best ever, featuring Markita Aldridge, Tamika Matlock, Tiffany Mitchell and Gemetrice White. Aldridge (UNC-Charlotte) was Miss Basketball and went on to play in the WNBA. Matlock played in the Big Ten at Michigan State. Mitchell starred out of the backcourt at Arkansas State and White patrolled the post for Western Michigan. Even after losing Aldridge to graduation, Matlock, Mitchell and White teamed to lead the Crusaders to a repeat state crown in 1991.

The colorful, always finely-dressed Winfield also won state championships in 1985, 2003 and 2006. His clubs appeared in a total of seven state finals.