Basketball coaches: A woman's world

By Berry Tramel Modified: October 24, 2008 at 12:35 pm •  Published: October 23, 2008
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A battalion of videographers suddenly burst into the interview room, cameras trained on an entering subject.

Said Texas A&M women’s basketball coach Gary Blair, "Sherri Coale must be coming in.”

He was right.

Big 12 basketball media days opened Wednesday at the Cox Center, and the league’s women stars are unequivocally coaches.

Not even the likes of players Courtney Paris, Andrea Riley and Takia Starks overshadow the glamour of the coaches.

Texas’ Gail Goestenkors unveiled her new clothing line last week. Baylor’s Kim Mulkey could get elected mayor of Waco. OU’s Coale could get elected governor of Oklahoma. Lubbock, Texas, named a freeway loop in honor of now-retired Texas Tech coach Marsha Sharp.

"I think it’s fantastic,” said Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly. "It’s taken too long. I think the names you mentioned, as well as a number of others ... they’ve impacted our sport.”

Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma and Tennessee’s Pat Summitt long have been celebrity coaches. But now they’ve got company.

"Having multiple pseudo-superstar coaches,” Coale said before pausing — "I can’t say that with a straight face; I’m from Healdton, Okla., for heaven sakes ... having a lot of recognizable faces in women’s basketball is great for the game.”

Blair said it’s become the one-name fad. Geno. Pat. Gail. Sherri. Kim. "In College Station, they just call me Coach,” Blair said. "I haven’t gotten to the exclusive status.”

Blair opened his sportcoat and suggested a clothing line for himself, Oklahoma State’s Kurt Budke and Fennelly. Call it BBF.

"We laugh about it, because we know we’re not the rock stars of the game,” Blair said. "All we do is try to win games on the court.”

But the rock stars have won their share, too. Mulkey coached Baylor to the 2005 NCAA title. Coale coached the Sooners to the 2002 NCAA championship game. Goestenkors guided Duke to two NCAA title games and has ignited rampant optimism at Texas.

Goestenkors’ Coach G Line was unveiled last week and will be sold at UT-licensed stores in Austin, Houston and San Antonio.

"I’m approached much more often in Austin than I was in Durham,” N. Slideshow: Sherri Coale - Through the years


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