Ever since Shelly Breen was old enough to bounce a basketball she has been consumed by the sport.
As an eighth-grader she earned a position on the Brainerd High School varsity roster and developed into one of the most prolific scorers in Warrior girls' history. Breen became the first Warrior girl to score 1,000 points and set the girls' single-game school record with 40 points against St. Cloud Tech in February of 1990.
The 1992 BHS graduate went on to play two years at the College of St. Benedict. She transferred to Augsburg College in Minneapolis where she got into coaching while still a student. She was the Auggies' co-head coach for one year and an assistant for another season.
Following graduation from Augsburg in 1997, Breen was an assistant coach at Anoka High School for one year and head coach for two. She then moved to Robbinsdale Cooper where she was an assistant one season.
Cutbacks, because of strained budgets, have become widespread in education today and Breen lost her teaching position at Cooper. As fate would have it, at about that time a friend called and informed her of an opening in the marketing department for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx.
Breen applied, was hired and started Sept. 3. She works with season ticket sales, helps set up youth clinics throughout the state and helps youth athletic programs set up fund-raising projects.
"It's about as close to a dream job as you can get," Breen said from her office at Target Center. "We talk basketball every day. That's my job, being at Target Center, having access to all those things. The staff is so helpful, so awesome and is pumped about the season coming up. You can't go wrong.
"I'm like on cloud nine every day. People are very receptive. Especially if they're a basketball fan, they know things are happening. On the season ticket side the phone is ringing off the hook. We nearly have the lower level sold out. We're starting to sell out the upper level."
This year the Lynx made the playoffs for the first time. In the offseason the Wolves added stars like Latrell Sprewell, Michael Olowokandi and Sam Cassell. The city of Minneapolis and Wolves owner Glen Taylor announced they will make $14 million in improvements at Target Center, including a new scoreboard and a parquet-style floor.
"It's really buzzing around here," Breen said.
The 29-year-old has met Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale and head coach Flip Saunders but probably won't work directly with them. She has worked closely with Lynx head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio on a few promotions.
"It's really a friendly environment, a professional environment," Breen said, "but at the same time everyone is working for the same goal. Of course, I'm still star-struck, and I hope I always will be."
Virtually one thing is certain -- Breen probably will always be involved with the sport.
"Because of basketball, and because of my involvement with athletics, I've been able to do just about anything I've wanted to do," she said. "I've been able to coach and teach the game, and also to teach golf and tennis. The connections and relationships I've built over a period of time got me in the door where I am now. Now I'm working for one of the top NBA and WNBA franchises simply because of the game. (Basketball) does a lot for a person, without a doubt."
* Little Falls High School graduate Ryan Laager is the new head boys' basketball coach at Champlin Park.
* Brainerd High School graduate Theresa Brummer is the head volleyball coach at the new Rogers High School.
* Crosby-Ironton graduate Jim Malosky was inducted into the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center Hall of Fame Sept. 6 with Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale and former Duluth TV announcer Marsh Nelson. Malosky had a 255-125-13 record as Minnesota-Duluth football coach.
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