Colleen Stark Haws Receives Minnesota National Girls and Women in Sports Day Wilma Randolph Award
February 1, 2018
The Wilma Rudolph Award for Courage and Inspiration – Colleen J. Stark-Haws, St. Cloud Tech High School.
Gymnasts at St. Cloud Tech High School have not only seen unprecedented success on the competition floor for more than a decade, but they have been motivated by a true role model in Colleen Stark-Haws. This inspirational leader began coaching as a teenager and carried her passion through college before starting a new high school program in 1993 in Sauk Rapids. Stark-Haws led the team to a state title in 1997 before accepting a coaching position at St. Cloud Tech with her husband, Joel, by her side as co-head coach in 1999. Since then, the St. Cloud Tech gymnastics team has captured 12-consecutive section titles and won its first state championship in 2016. The success of Stark-Haws’ team is most notable, though, as she has continued to coach and lead the team despite her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2006. Just a year into her diagnosis, Stark-Haws began using a wheelchair but didn’t let that stop her. With limited movement in her body, Stark-Haws is able to clearly articulate to her athletes what they need to do while Joel helps with physical guidance. As her disease progresses, Stark-Haws still relishes the opportunity to coach girls of all ages in gymnastics and inspire them to believe in themselves in and out of the gym. Stark-Haws says she is inspired by a quote from John Wooden, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can.” Read the full press release.