EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – After two seasons as the Holt varsity girls’ basketball coach, Tori Brooks is heading back to a place close to her heart.
“When I first started coaching in high school, I told my wife ‘One day I want to be back at East Lansing,'” Brooks said. “I’m so grateful for my time at Holt. Love those girls. Love the community.”
Brooks attended East Lansing High School and spent three seasons as an assistant with the Trojans. Meaning, she knows about the program’s history.
“I’m hoping to get it back to where it was – The East Lansing tradition: Play Like a Champion – and do some things that my former coach (Rob Smith) did, but also put my own spin on it. I definitely want to be competitive every year,” Brooks said to 6 Sports on Tuesday.
East Lansing saw a lot of success under Smith. In his 22 years as head coach, the Trojans won 18 conference titles, ten regional championships, 12 district championships, going to three state championship games, and winning it all back in 2010.
In January of 2022, Smith announced he would be stepping down after the season to spend more time with his family.
So, the 2022-23 season featured new leadership and a 4-16 record. It’s why East Lansing decided to hire Brooks and make her the Trojans’ third coach in three years.
This past season at Holt, Brooks led the Rams to a 22-5 record and their first regional title since 1975.
Two of those wins came against East Lansing in the regular season. The Rams won both convincingly, and when the Trojans got to officially meet Brooks on Tuesday, they felt much different about her.
“When I first met her, I thought she was nice,” East Lansing sophomore power forward Ayla Bowers said. “But when I saw her at games, she seemed very strict, but I’m excited because I think she’ll be a good coach.”
East Lansing freshman center Kaylle King said, “I’m excited to build a bond with her and actually clear our name out in the area and get back to winning.”