The Lady Legends
Jo Lake, Sue Novara Reber, Pam Stockton Brady, Linnell Jones McKenney
August 31, 2022
It’s a truly epic day in the Aquarium!
Flint has produced so many incredible athletes in virtually every sport, and we’ve had a ton of them on “Fish and The Flint Chronicles” over the years. However, we rarely have more than one at a time, and only occasionally two. But today we have a truly special moment. We’ve brought four of the GOAT’s together for one show today. This is pure Flint sports history at it’s finest!
Jo Lake – Arguably the greatest ladies high school coach in Michigan high school history. A genuine ground breaker, pre Title 9 pioneer, she led teams at both Flint Kearsley and Flint Holy Rosary to multiple state titles in three sports (Basketball, Volleyball, and Softball). The story of Jo Lake’s life is the stuff great screenplays are made of though. Her journey from mom and housewife, to nursing school, to becoming one of the most prolific coaches in Michigan High School athletics is one that can only be labeled as unlikely and amazing.
Her stat line includes leading Holy Rosary and Kearsley to eight state high school championships. In the 1975-76 school year, her Holy Rosary teams incredibly won state Class D titles in basketball, volleyball and softball. She also had two more state titles in each of those sports at Holy Rosary and two state Class A volleyball titles at Kearsley. In 1979, Lake was named National High School Volleyball Coach Of The Year.
Sue Novara Reber - One of America’s greatest female cyclists, she was Senior Woman’s National Sprint Champion in 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980.
In 1982 she won the Senior Women’s Road National Championship. She also won three silver and four bronze medals in the Senior Women’s National Championships. She won seven Amateur Woman’s Sprint Championship medals: two gold, four silver, one bronze. She also served as coach of the USA Women’s National Team from 1986 to 1988. She was inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame in 1991.
Pam Stockton Brady - She is a member of the United States Badminton Hall of Fame, elected in 1981.Brilliant in every aspect of the game, she won twenty United States National Championships between 1972 and 1985; four in singles, eleven in women's doubles, and five in mixed doubles. She represented the USA in team matches including Uber Cup which was the women's world team in '71-'72, '77-'78, and '80-'81. In 1981 and 1982 she teamed with husband Danny Brady, to win The United States national mixed doubles titles in 1981 and 1982. She only failed to win a National Championship once between 1965 and 1983 and that was 1975 when her daughter was born. It’s a run that has included dominating performances around the world in addition to the states, Canada, and South Africa including England, Germany, France, Denmark, Peru, Bermuda, Japan, New Zealand and many others.
Linnell Jones McKenney- Flint’s first female professional basketball player, Senior Olympic Champion, local legend, and Italian athletic folk hero for scoring 84 points in a game in Italy, Jones-McKenney is a ground breaking, barrier shattering, positive force of pure energy. In 1980, Jones-McKenney qualified for the U.S. Olympics, but it was boycotted that year so she couldn’t compete. After college, she was drafted fourth overall in 1980 by the St. Louis Streaks of the Women’s Basketball League. She was named the Italian league’s Most Valuable Player three times, earned five All-Star nods, and scored 84 points in a single game.
Although each has been on the show individually the synergy of all four in the same room, at the same time is nothing short of magic. It’s another one of those incredible moments that only happen in the Effervescent Aquarium of “Fish and The Flint Chronicles”!
Great conversation and sharing of experiences!