March 18, 2023

By Fred Liggett

When the 2023-24 school year begins Lee’s Summit North High School for the first time in school history will have a girls head basketball coach other than Tricia Lillygren.

After 28 years Tricia Lillygren is retiring from the sidelines at LS North as girls head basketball coach. During that time Lillygren coached the Broncos to a total of 454 wins. Lillygren says she “is very proud of the kids that have come through” the program. While the number of wins is nice Coach Lillygren admits the “relationships always number one for me.”

Some talented players have helped Lillygren reach that number of victories and the coach continues to stay in touch with many of them. Lillygren states “been able to stay in touch with many of them, we have a good time keeping up.” When thinking about how many of them that stay in touch Lillygren feels “overwhelmed by the support and so many have valued their time with us.”

There was a time when Coach Lillygren worked elsewhere as she began her prep coaching career at her alma mater Raytown South. Lillygren made the move to the home of the Broncos in 1995 thanks to one of her former teachers at Ray South. Then Lee’s Summit District Athletic Director Darwin Rold offered the job to Lillygren and the chance to start her own program. Lillygren said “had to think about it, Ray South being my alma mater.” But the thought of “being able to start my own program” and work with “the fantastic people in the Lee’s Summit District” proved to be enough for the answer to be a yes.

Lillygren feels fortunate to work with both Rold and later Stan Elliott at the school district. Lillygren is happy to say, “I still see both of them.” The Broncos program enjoyed years of success under Lillygren’s guidance. The longtime coach is quick to say “been surrounded by talented people.” Lillygren is happy to know that “the kids see they are a family, being led by a top notch coaching staff.” One assistant, Sean Donovan, was on staff for 27 years before his retirement in 2022.

What’s up next for Coach Lillygren? She plans to teach for another year at LS North. In addition to that spend time with her mom and travel. With the 2022-23 season ending on Tuesday, Mar. 7 Lillygren admits still getting used to the “thought of not planning another practice.” Future plans also include “definitely cheer on whoever takes over the program.” While Coach Lillygren won’t be on the sidelines next season one can be assured the Broncos will gain a big cheerleader who will continue to stay in touch with everyone.