Named as the 2013 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team head coach on March, 12, 2013, Sherri Coale is undertaking her second USA Basketball coaching assignment. Previously, she helped the USA to a bronze medal as an assistant coach in the 2001 FIBA Junior World Championship in Brno, Czech Republic, and she served on the 2005-08 USA Basketball Women’s Collegiate Committee.
“Representing our country via this sport that I love is the ultimate opportunity – an opportunity that I don't take lightly and one that I am humbled to accept,” Coale said. “In addition to the experience of coaching some of our country's finest collegiate athletes, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Brian Giorgis and Coquese Washington. I have great respect for each of these coaches, not only for the programs they have built on their respective campuses, but also for their ambassadorship of our game. I look forward to learning from them and working with them to make this an amazing experience for the student athletes we will lead into international competition.”
Currently in her 17th season (1996-97 to present) as head coach of the University of Oklahoma Sooners, Coale and her Sooners are 22-10 awaiting their expected seed and preliminary round location in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA women’s tournament bracket will be announced on March 18.
Compiling a 357-168 record (.680 winning percentage) through the 2011-12 season, Coale has led her teams to 13 NCAA Tournaments, including the Final Four in 2002, 2009 and 2010, and she has helped her squad win six Big 12 regular season championships and four Big 12 Tournament Championships.
Beginning with OU’s 31-5 season in 2005-06, Coale and her team have recorded at least 20 wins in seven-straight seasons, including a 32-5 run in 2008-09.
Coale has recorded just two losing seasons in her OU career, and they were her first two after being hired in 1996-97. It didn’t take long for Coale to improve the program, however, and in her third year she led her squad to a 15-14 tally and the 1999 WNIT second round. Since then, she hasn’t missed an NCCA Tournament.
After advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in 2000 and 2001, Coale and her team reached the program’s first NCAA Final Four in 2002, where OU beat Duke before losing the NCAA National Championship game to undefeated Connecticut to finish 32-4 for the best record in school and Big 12 Conference history.
Another 32-win season in 2008-09 saw OU reach its next NCAA Final Four, a feat they repeated with a Final Four appearance in 2010 that saw the Sooners finish the year 27-11.
Among her notable former players are Olympian Stacey Dales, who played for Canada in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, as well as 13 WNBA draft selections.
Coal was an NAIA Scholar Athlete Award winner who graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma Christian, and she has piloted her players to academic success as well. Under her guidance OU has seen 42 women’s basketball players garner 87 Academic All-Big 12 honors, 13 All-District Academic Team selections and four Academic All-America Team honors.
She began her coaching career at Edmond Memorial High School (Edmond, Okla.), where she was an assistant coach for two years. During 1990-96 she was head coach of the Norman High School girls basketball team, where she inherited a struggling program and recorded just one losing season – her first – taking home two Class 6A state titles and a 147-40 record (.786 winning percentage). She was honored as the region, all-state and Big All-City High School Coach of the Year in 1993, and she was inducted into the Norman High School Hall of Fame in February 2002.In September of 2012, Coale began an appointment to the board of directors of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, where she participates in the fund’s strategic leadership and governance. In recognition of Coale, the community of Healdton, Okla., declared Aug. 26, 2001 as “Sherri Coale Day.”