"She has work to do,” Burke said. "In terms of your legacy, you’re going to need to win it.”
Coale is hailed as the matriarch of a thriving program and one of the primary faces of women’s basketball across the nation.
But those stilettos and that hair and that throaty twang and that Oklahoma charm and repeated trips to the Final Four can take Coale only so far.
If Coale wants to be a coach for the ages, if she wants to be mentioned in the same breath with UConn’s Geno Auriemma or Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, if she wants to match the bragging rights of Baylor’s Kim Mulkey, an NCAA title is mandatory.
The good news? Coale doesn’t run from that requirement.
"It’s why we do what we do,” Coale said. "It’s the grand prize.
"Obviously, I think our returning to the Final Four this year put us in a different category. Put us in a different league, nationally. But you don’t really get to be a part of that small circle until you get to cut down the nets here.
"Before you can do that, you’ve got to get here. So we did that part. But we’ve got some unfinished business.”
Finish that business, and Sherrimania takes on a whole new dimension. Finish that business, and Sherri Coale goes from Oklahoma rock star to American rock star.
405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.