Cheryl Miller overwhelmed by reception at Langston

Women’s basketball legend takes over as coach of NAIA program.
by Trent Shadid Published: April 29, 2014
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photo - Women's basketball great Cheryl Miller speaks to players Alex Adekunle (left) and Kashyla Fields (right) before the beginning of a press conference where she was introduced as the head coach of Langston's women's basketball program on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman
Women's basketball great Cheryl Miller speaks to players Alex Adekunle (left) and Kashyla Fields (right) before the beginning of a press conference where she was introduced as the head coach of Langston's women's basketball program on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 Photo by KT King, The Oklahoman

— Cheryl Miller has experience on many of the grandest stages in basketball as a player, coach and sideline reporter.

So when she was officially introduced as the new women’s basketball coach at Langston University on Wednesday, no one could expect her to be overwhelmed.

But that’s exactly how Miller felt when she stepped to the podium to address a large number of LU supporters inside C.F. Gayles Fieldhouse.

“I was hoping to be well received, but this was extraordinary,” Miller said. “To have the support of the administrators and the student body, past and present, it was overwhelming.”

Miller’s pedigree includes a Hall of Fame playing career at Southern California, leading the U.S. to a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, successful coaching stints at her alma mater and in the WNBA, and 17 years as a NBA sideline reporter with TNT.

The initial link connecting Miller to Langston is athletic director Mike Garrett, who had hired Miller in 1993 while serving as athletic director at USC.

When Garrett reached out to Miller about Langston’s coaching vacancy, Miller admits she didn’t know much about the small school in central Oklahoma.

“I’m not going to lie, I had to get on the Internet and look up the history of this university,” Miller said. “Obviously, it’s historically very rich in tradition. Then I started trying to figure out the similarities and trying to connect the dots (for me). Having spent 17 years commentating with TNT, I know the Thunder, and my former associate coach when I was at USC, Fred Williams, coaches in the WNBA with the Tulsa team. And smack dab in the middle, is Langston.

“But it wasn’t until I sat down with (Langston president) Kent Smith and Mike Garrett. What they spoke about was a vision for this university academically, athletically, and its legacy. That’s what I admire. That sold me.”

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by Trent Shadid
Copy Editor
Trent Shadid is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Weatherford, Okla., and attended Weatherford High School. Before joining The Oklahoman, he spent two seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at Weatherford High...
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