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Oklahoma State basketball: Megan Byford back in Stillwater

Former Cowgirl is now a graduate assistant, learning what it's like on the coaching side.
By Gina Mizell Published: February 19, 2013
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photo - OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY / WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: OSU's Megan Byford (33) and Andrea Riley (10) celebrate OSU's win over Centenary, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009, at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: KOD
OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY / WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: OSU's Megan Byford (33) and Andrea Riley (10) celebrate OSU's win over Centenary, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009, at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN ORG XMIT: KOD

Megan Byford wishes she could throw her knee pads back on and go bang in the paint for Oklahoma State.

But she'll settle for her new role on the Cowgirl bench.

After one-year stints as an assistant coach at Northern Oklahoma-Enid and as a graduate assistant at Pittsburg State in Kansas, Byford is back at OSU as a graduate assistant, where her duties range from organizing meals on road trips to distributing recruiting materials to assisting coaches. She'll finish her Master's in education with a concentration in curriculum studies in May.

Byford talked with The Oklahoman's Gina Mizell about her new responsibilities, why she recently apologized to Cowgirl coach Jim Littell and where she expects her coaching career to go after this season.

When did you know you wanted to get into coaching?

I've known for a long time. I love basketball, and it kind of gave me, I don't want to say an identity, but it just gave me an opportunity in life that I probably wouldn't have had otherwise. So I've always wanted to give back to the sport and give other girls that opportunity that I had. There are so many lessons basketball teaches you about life. I love the game. I love what it teaches you. I love the camaraderie between coaches and players.

After your time at Northern Oklahoma-Enid and Pittsburg State, how'd you wind back up at OSU?

I was actually planning on going back to Pittsburg to be a GA there again the next season, and Coach Littell just kind of called me out of the blue and was like, ‘I have a GA spot opening. Are you interested?' I said, ‘I'll be there on Monday.' I knew I wanted to be back here. It's closer to home. This is family. My heart is in Stillwater, so it was a no-brainer decision for me.

What's the biggest thing you've learned on the OSU staff this season?

I feel bad for all the things I put my coaches through when I was a player. I've learned that you pull your hair out a little more on this side than you did on the other side. It's so funny, because as a player, you just look at things like ‘What's the big deal?' And then on this side, you're like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is a big deal. Get it together.' I have actually apologized to Coach Littell (and said), ‘I'm sorry for some of the boneheaded things that I did that I know probably drove you crazy. I see it now.'

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No. 23 Oklahoma State at TCU

*When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

*Where: Daniel Meyer Coliseum, Fort Worth, Texas

*Radio: KGFY-FM 105.5

*TV: None

Three things to know

*All seven of OSU's Big 12 victories have come by double figures, while six of TCU's league losses have come by single digits.

*This game will match two of the Big 12's top freshmen in OSU's Brittney Martin and TCU's Zahna Medley.

*This will be OSU's second trip to TCU in program history.

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