SILVER SPRING, Md. (DC News Now) — Miriam Tesfamikael is stepping into a new role at Springbrook high school.
“I wanted to find something that was different,” Tesfamikael said. “A little bit of a challenge.”
Last year, Tesfamikael led the Springbrook junior varsity boys basketball team to an undefeated record as their head coach. This year, she’s taking over as head coach of the varsity boys team, the first woman to ever hold the role in Montgomery County.
“I don’t think I’ve quite understood the impact that I’m having,” Tesfamikael said. “It wasn’t until recently, we had a parent come to the game and they were talking to some of my family and they were saying, you know, I’m so glad that coach T is here.”
Announced as head coach in May, Tesfamikael has received many supportive comments.
“She’s such a great example for like my two younger daughters who don’t play basketball,” Tesfmikael said one parent at a game told her. “They come watch their older brother play but like we liked that she doesn’t take crap from anybody like we like that she sticks up for herself.”
Tesfamikael has also received some negative comments, one reading: “You’re telling me there wasn’t a highly qualified man to coach this team?”
“You wouldn’t come into my classroom doing that you wouldn’t come into a daycare center doing that, right? But for some reason what sports it’s like there’s almost this entitlement that everybody else gets to decide what’s right and wrong,” Tesfamikael said. “There’s nothing separating me if a guy came in with the same resume that I had. We wouldn’t bat an eye and we would be able to take them in and you know show him the ropes.”
Where it matters, her players and peers support her.
“A lot of people are gonna judge us for that, having a female coach,” Springbrook rising junior guard and forward Anthony Edmonds Jr. told DC News Now. “I just think we need to prove ourselves. She picks us up when we’re down or she seems that we’re not doing well. She likes to like, fill a fire in us.”
Blake boys basketball head coach Desmin Wade is excited to see his friend take on a new role.
“She’s going to empower a young woman whether it’s coming from the middle school or someone at the high school level of Springbok,” Wade said. “It’s a phenomenal thing for the game of basketball. Great thing for the community, Montgomery county, and I promise you she’ll be in the mix for sure.”
Originally from Missouri, before coming to Springbrook, Tesfamikael was the head coach of the boys basketball team University of Chicago Woodlawn Charter School in Illinois. Breaking barriers is just another day on the basketball court for Tesfamikael.
“We’re still living in a society where there’s all these firsts, right? Like we have our first black woman as a Supreme Court justice,” Tesfamikael told DC News Now. “Right now, there’s a lot of firsts for women out there, right? I hope at some point we get to the point where there are no more firsts.”
While she’s excited about the history she’s making in the county, she’d like to get to work and lead the team to success at the state level.
“State championship 100 percent and if I can get more than one state championship, that’d be great,” Tesfamikael said. “And that’s what I’ve instilled in the guys but you are capable group of guys, but it depends on how much work we’re willing to put in.”