Berry Tramel

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Sherri Coale: 'Absolutely' this season is disappointing

by Berry Tramel Modified: March 7, 2014 at 5:05 pm •  Published: March 7, 2014

I wrote about Sherri Coale and her enormous salary (by women’s basketball standards) for my Friday column. You can read that here.

But there were some other items we addressed that didn’t make the final cut of my column. I thought I would share them.

First, Coale herself.

* On her Northwestern Mutual commercial conversation with North Carolina State men’s coach Mark Gottfried and George Mason men’s coach Paul Hewitt: “It was great fun. I can’t speak for Paul and Mark, I know I walked away from it thinking I got a tremendous two-hour basketball clinic, while I’m shooting a commercial. Everything was ad-lib. We talked about it to each other. ‘This is what we do. This is what we do. This is how we handle that. This is how we handle that.’ I walked away from it feeling like I had just got to go to an elite coaches seminar. This is fantastic. I came back from that with more juice than when I went. Maybe it’s a great commercial, maybe it’s not, but I think I became a better coach just by sitting around for two hours.”

* On this disappointing season, when the Sooners were picked to win the Big 12 but fell into a tie for fifth in the conference and are seeded sixth in the Big 12 Tournament: “Absolutely it’s disappointing. I don’t know that we’ve ever underachieved in the history of the Big 12. Where ever we’re picked, we outkick our coverage almost every time. This year we didn’t. So yes, that’s disappointing. Our seniors are disappointed, our team is disappointed, our staff is disappointed…

“We have 22 wins (instead of 18) if four possessions go differently. Do you know how much different that would make you feel than the way you feel when it doesn’t? We were a little bit of a victim of that. Make no mistake, it’s our fault. We did it. But we became our own worst enemy, playing passively and without great decisiveness and without great aggression.

“Like a boxer, you get knocked dizzy for a little bit. We were never able to regain our balance. The schedule, whether every other game you were playing Baylor of West Virginia or Louisville or whatever, we just never really had a stretch of games where we could get going and get unwoozy, if I can take my English teacher’s license and make a word.”

* On what kind of shape the program’s in, with an 18-13 record with three senior starters: “It’s in fantastic shape.”

Now, athletic director Joe Castiglione:

* On Coale’s status among other coaches: “There are so many examples of the respect Sherri has in the coaching community, it would be hard for me to mention them all. She’s a highly sought-after speaker, period. A range of audiences that she can really impact with her speaking skills. But just talking basketball alone, coaching clinics, skills clinics, clinics of men’s basketball … Sherri’s one of the few who consistently get invited to present at those types of clinics.”

* On the disappointing season: “Her record is and continues to be just incredible. We appreciate her so much. Because we’ve set such high standards, we still have expectations that we’re going to have that kind of success most years. She’s working hard to correct all of it.”

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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