> St. Louis Surge

The city of St. Louis has been begging for a professional basketball team ever since the loss of the former NBA St. Louis Hawks

The city of St. Louis has been begging for a professional basketball team ever since the loss of the former NBA St. Louis Hawks, now the Atlanta Hawks, in 1968. In 1973, the city acquired the Spirits of St. Louis, an ABANBA merger team. Their franchise was short-lived, shutting down in 1976. Who knew that 35 years later a professional basketball team would once again reign in the city? Only this time, women’s basketball would become the talk of the town.

Khalia Collier, a St. Louis native and former player, became one of the youngest sport-team owners in the country in May 2011 after seizing ownership of the St. Louis Surge Professional Basketball team at 23 years old. Khalia began playing basketball at the age of five and fell in love with the game.

From a very young age, she always had an entrepreneurial mindset. Her talents on the court prompted her to become one of the top players in the region; setting several impressive records during her time as a student-athlete. She ultimately decided to commit to a small university where she finished her career as a Spartan, graduating with a degree in Communication Studies.

After graduation, Khalia began working for a Fortune 500 company. Her corporate experience, along with her passion for basketball, business savvy, and deep commitment to the city of St. Louis, prepared her for the next phase of her life—becoming the Owner and General Manager of the St. Louis Surge. When Khalia discovered the St. Louis Surge, not only did a light bulb go off in her head as she instantly saw the potential the franchise had to thrive, but her natural ambition and grit took over.

In 2013, the Surge began rebranding; new logo, staff, coaches, and roster. It was the beginning of a new chapter, a glimpse of what Khalia and the Surge would continue to build, and the start of an innovative blueprint focused on impact beyond the court. In less than 10 years under Khalia’s leadership, the Surge have continued their success, winning 2 National Championships and becoming four-time runners-up.

Khalia has helped grow the Surge into a franchise the city of St. Louis can  support. She was determined to revolutionize the impact of sports in the community. To do so, Khalia took a creative approach by only recruiting character first without sacrificing talent. All players are required to obtain a college degree. Khalia gets them out into the community, arranging mandatory schedules for the players and herself to attend school appearances, host sports camps, provide community service, and take part in other local events.

Khalia has secured several partnerships with local and national companies to assist in brand expansion. With these strategic efforts on and off the court, attendance at Surge games have grown from 50-60 attendees (when Khalia took over in 2011) to now thousands of fans per game within a year!

Khalia’s strategy of growing the team by pursuing community engagement, promoting the development of leadership, and showing the importance of education takes her personal philosophy and applies it to her team, and through them, to her community. Khalia continues to serve as a trailblazer, expanding into unchartered territory while changing the landscape of professional women’s sports. Her tireless energy and ability to see what is possible keep her charged up to continue making history.

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