Marist women's basketball coach Brian Giorgis has lots of connections to the University of Oklahoma.
Giorgis' team will host Sherri Coale's Sooners at 6 p.m. Saturday — the fourth meeting between the programs in the last six years — and he was an assistant to Coale for Team USA at last summer's World University Games in Russia.
Oh, and Giorgis is also a die-hard Oklahoma football fan. He joined the Sooners bandwagon as a kid in 1966 and never jumped off.
Giorgis spoke with The Oklahoman by telephone this week about his team, last summer's experience and OU football.
Q: OU and Marist have met several times in recent years. Why has this become a regular series?
A: I had met Sherri my first year coaching because we both had similar backgrounds, coming straight from high school to be college head coaches. I had picked her brain about a couple of things, and I've been a die-hard Sooner football fan since 1966. I think that tied into it, and she wanted to bring the kids up North.
We got crushed in Norman (in 2009), but the next year it went into overtime. We had a 10-point lead with 10 minutes to go. It was a great atmosphere. In fact, (Coale's) quote about the atmosphere in her postgame conference is on our wall.
There's no such thing as moral victories, but that was probably the best loss we ever had.
You coached with Sherri at the World University Games last summer. What was that experience like?
To watch Coach Coale put that team together in a very, very short period of time, to have them prepared to play some of the best talent in the world was remarkable. There are very few people in her class as far as being able to teach the game.
Finally, I have to ask you about OU football. What have you thought of the 2013 season, and how do you like the Sooners' chances against Alabama?
It's a tough task there. I still think Alabama's the best team in the country. … I got to see Oklahoma play at Notre Dame this year. I thought the Belldozer did a nice job, and the freshman did a nice job. They're not Landry Jones, but still, considering the people they lost, they did a great job this year.