Meet Sherri Coale. She is the Oklahoma University Women’s basketball coach. Coale is credited with bringing Oklahoma University’s tradition of great sports teams to the women’s basketball program. See update below. Read her biography, see photos and videos below.

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Sherri Coale

The O.U. Women’s basketball team made it to the Elite Eight with their win over University of Pittsburgh on March 27th. Now first-seeded, the University of Oklahoma team will play sixth-seeded Purdue at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2009 in the Oklahoma City regional final. Nine years ago, Oklahoma University played Purdue as the underdog and won. Everything changed for Sherri Coale and the women who would participate in the schools women’s basketball program in future years.

The press coverage is steeped in comparisons of Sherri Coale’s 2002 Final Four championship, with speculation of this O.U. team’s ability to duplicate that success. Coale says there are some similarities. Both teams have “toughness,” “leadership,” and “unity.” Without those qualities, Coach Coale doubts that a team can reach the level of the Final Four. “I don’t think you can just get here by being good. That’s not enough. You have have some of those special things.”

The Oklahoma University Lady Sooner’s All-American center, Courtney Paris has taken her last class as an Oklahoma University senior. She will play in the Purdue game as the only four-time All-American in women’s college basketball. She holds 18 NCAA records. She is the first player, male or female, to have 700 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in a single season. Courtney Paris was recently named Player of the Year for the third straight season.

Courtney, who stands at 6’4,” is known for her 112 straight double-doubles. Having said all that, Paris wants to help deliver the national title, and she is serious about. It is reported that she has offered to repay her scholarship if that doesn’t happen this year.

Ashley Paris, Courtney’s twin sister, is also a key contributor on the Oklahoma University team, becoming a starter in 2007. She received Big 12 Honorable Mention and made the All-Big 12 Academic First Team the same year. Courtney and Ashley Paris’ father, Bubba Paris, is a former San Francisco 49ers lineman. NFL player. View a great video of Courtney and Ashley below.

Two other key players in Sherry Coale’s line-up are Whitney Hand and Carlee Roethlisberger. Hand was named Freshman of the Year. Roethlisberger upped her game at the end of the season. She is the sister of Pittsburgh Steeler Quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.

Update 3/31/2009: The Oklahoma University Lady’s Sooners triumphed tonight over Purdue 74-68, moving the team into the coveted Final Four.

Sherri Coale Biography

Sherri Kay Buben was born on January 19th, 1965. She is 44 years old. Her parents are Beverly Stash and Joe Buben. She has one brother, Jack.

Coale grew up in Healdton, Oklahoma. She graduated summa cum laude in 1987 from Oklahoma Christian College in Oklahoma City, where she played guard on the Lady Eagles basketball team.

For six seasons, Sherri Coale served as head coach of Norman High School’s girl’s basketball program with a 147-40 record. Her final two seasons there went 52-2. Coach Coale took her Norman team to two Class 6A State Championships. She was named All-State Coach of the Year, All-Region Coach of the Year, and All-City High School Coach of the Year.

Coale was brought to Oklahoma University as Women’s basketball coach in 1996, with greats hope to revive the floundering program. A few years earlier, the school infamously announced that they were dropping the program after the 1989-1990 team produced a 7-22 season that drew an astonishingly low average of 65 fans per game for this town of 102,000, who are fierce supporters of school athletics.

The school faced enormous pressure from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. When legendary hall-of-famer, Coach Kay Yow, spoke-out about the need for O.U. to keep their women’s team, the heat turned up to high.

A few years after the school considered burying the Oklahoma University women’s program in the trash heap of useless endeavors, the hunt began for a new coach. Associate Athletic Director, Marita Hynes, headed the effort. She pegged Coale for the job right away. Oklahoma had the talent and Hynes wanted to make hay with it. The fact that Coale had no college coaching experience wasn’t a factor to Hynes: “Really, there wasn’t any doubt in my mind she was the right person for the job.” Her confidence was well-founded.

In the 2001-2002 season, the Sooner’s made O.U. and Big 12 history when they went 32-4. In the 2005-2006 season, Sherri Coale’s Lady Sooners went 16-0 in Big 12 play and became the second Big 12 basketball team, men’s or women’s, to go undefeated in conference play.

In 2006-2007, the University of Oklahoma basketball team became the first Big 12 team to win back-to-back regular season and post-season conference championships.

As of 2007, Coach Coale’s teams have earned a grade point average of 3.0 or better during every semester she has served as head coach. At that time, thirty-one of her players had earned Academic All-Big 12 honors. Oklahoma State Senator John Sparks said “Coach Coale has distinguished herself as more than just a basketball coach…she’s a master motivator, a role model and a true Oklahoma success story.

Sherri Coale has been named Big 12 Coach of the year (2009), an honor she has held three previous times. She is a past President of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and a member of the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame.

Sherri married Dane Scott Coale on June 20, 1987. They have been married 21 years. They have two children: a son Colton born in 1992 and a daughter, Chandler born in 1996.

Sherri Coale (Video)

Oklahoma University Women’s Basketball (Video)