Stacy Hansmeyer was a state champion and All-America basketball player at Norman High School under then-coach Sherri Coale, then became a national champion as a Connecticut senior in 2000.
She coached 10 seasons (2001-2011) with Coale at Oklahoma, helping the Sooners to three Final Four appearances and the 2002 national championship game, which OU lost to Hansmeyer’s alma mater, UConn.
Today, she owns and operates Stacy Hansmeyer Elite Basketball Training.
I ran track in elementary school, and my P.E. teacher, Mr. Pittman, put me in lots of all-city track meets. I’d win red ribbons and blue ribbons, first- and second-place all the time.
When I was 10, my dad pushed me into running in the Hershey Track Meet, which is big in the state of Oklahoma. He signed me up and I went to state and won that.
They would take your time and compare it to other states in the region. From there, they flew you on a free trip out to Hershey, Pa. That blew me away.
That was the first time that I started seeing myself differently, as really athletic and fast and quick.
It was an all-expense paid trip to go up there and compete, and I placed third in the 50-meter dash. That was a big moment for me.
Whenever I got back from my flight, I can remember getting off that flight and saying, ‘Well, I hope you enjoyed it. That’s probably going to be the last flight that you take.’ We were just a family that drove everywhere.
It’s funny because once I hit college, I never stopped flying.
There were four coaches who had a really big impact on my basketball career.
Sherrill Howery was the first coach to introduce me to the game of basketball and how it was played. He set my foundation. He made this team called the Mookies. It was named after Mookie Blaylock, so what a great way to start my career.
My next coach was Bob Pigg. He is a well-known coach in the state of Oklahoma. He was outstanding with X’s and O’s. He spent a lot of time helping me with my development in the post area, how to get position and keep position. At that time, there was only one AAU national championship and we made it to the finals, but didn’t win it. I was on that team whenever I was spotted by Coach (Geno) Auriemma.
Then, obviously, Coach Coale was huge. She was someone I looked up to in every way. I completely admired her love, her passion, her energy. She was a tremendous motivator and an incredible teacher of the game. She just made me believe I could do more than I ever thought I could do.
Coach Auriemma is going to push you until you have nothing left to give. He brings out his incredible passion and fire and competitiveness that you just had no idea was there.
It never was difficult for me at all to leave home. Once I got up there, the culture was different, but going to college was just on my list of things to do. I’d always dreamed of playing college basketball and getting an education and winning a national championship, and I just knew that Connecticut was the best place for me to accomplish that. I never thought twice about it. It was moving me closer to the next part of my life.
The 2002 national championship game was such an incredibly proud moment for me. Standing out there, my heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest. Being at Connecticut, having played there and invested so much, and then moving to OU and working on my dream job, that moment, in such a weird way, life couldn’t have gotten any better. It was the finals. We were the only two teams left standing. It was such an incredible moment to take in.
I remember getting ready to graduate high school, and hearing the announcement that there was a WNBA, how exciting that was, and how inspirational that was to know that women, after college, would have a chance to play.
After I left college, everything grew even more. It wasn’t just UConn and Tennessee; so many more teams started to emerge. There was so much more fan support. Women’s basketball became such a big deal. I can remember being in the Lloyd Noble Center for the first White Out vs. Baylor, and it wasn’t just sold out, it was standing room only.
Sports plant so many seeds inside of you as an athlete. At the time, when you’re put to the test or put under pressure, that’s really when you see it grow and blossom and bloom. It’s absolutely amazing what sports can do inside of you.
I absolutely love what I’m doing now. I’ve always had a strong passion for growing basketball in the state of Oklahoma, and not just on the girls’ side, but also on the boys’ side.
Basketball has given me so much, and I feel a strong desire to pass it on. I’ve been blessed with many different wonderful coaches, and taking what they’ve taught me, I’m just going to pass it on.