“I knew probably how she was going to feel; I helped my mom shave her head, helped ... I'm sorry,” Coale said, pausing to fight back tears.
“I helped Jan shave her head. ... From the most tangible little seemingly unimportant detail, to the really, really big ones, it was a road I had been down.”
Ross stayed home and rested through July, a heavy recruiting month with lots of travel; other than that, she continued coming to work over the course of her battle.
Junior guard Morgan Hook said the team watched in awe, inspired by Ross' determination.
“I remember we'd feel her, and she'd feel so hot,” Hook said. “She would come in, no matter how bad she was feeling, and say she felt great.”
Ross, 48, says she feels great today, too, and she looks great. Her hair is growing back. She's started working out again.
She also feels blessed to have fully returned to a job she loves, where she gets to coach the players she loves.
“Hopefully they learned that, nowadays, cancer doesn't mean you're dying,” Ross said. “There's so many treatments, so many good doctors, so much they can do.”
On May 12, four days after her surgery, Ross was scheduled to toss the first pitch at OU's baseball game.
No one was sure if she'd actually be able to do it, but Ross insisted.
Even then, few expected the down-the-middle strike Ross hurled.
“That just sums it up,” Coale said. “That's the way she goes about her business and lives her life. ‘Just doing what I'm supposed to do.'
“But the rest of the world takes notice, and it's pretty extraordinary.”
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NO. 12 OKLAHOMA VS. NORTH TEXAS
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37/HD 722, Dish 416, DirecTV 679, U-verse 754)
Radio: KOKC-AM 1520, KREF-AM 1400