OU Women's Basketball Coach Sherri Coale Announces Her Retirement After 25 Years

Wednesday, March 17th 2021, 5:40 pm
By: Brittany Toolis

NORMAN, Oklahoma -

The winningest coach in OU women's basketball program's history announced she's hanging up the clipboard.

Sherri Coale's 25-year career at OU featured more than 500 wins, 10 conference championships and three Final Fours. 

Outside of all her championships, accolades and accomplishments, Coale's colleagues said she embodied what it means to be a Sooner. 

"You aren't just leaving your story better than you found it. You have left our story much better than you found it," OU's Athletic Director Joe Castiglione said.

Castiglione read a note to Coale as she tearfully said her farewells to the University of Oklahoma and the basketball court.

"Your love, your support, your friendship has helped me have the time of my life. So, thank you, it's been an honor Oklahoma," Coale said.

She didn't start out on a winning foot. In her first two seasons as the women's basketball head coach, the team had just 13 wins combined, but in her third year on the sidelines, Coale hit the gas.

"And never stopped. She had 20 straight winning seasons. 19 trips in a row to the NCAA tournament. 9 Sweet Sixteens. 3 Final Fours," OU President Joe Harroz said.

"I remember the championships. I remember balloons all over this floor. I remember cutting down numerous nets. I remember plane rides and bus rides with kids dancing up and down the aisles," Coale said.

It isn't just the wins and celebrations the Hall of Famer will hold close.

"Saying goodbye to kids. The painful losses. The road that looked at times dark and twisted and straight up hill. But I look at all of that in the same bowl, with the same amount of gratitude," Coale said.

Her advice for the next head coach is to be you.

"Players, above and beyond all things, they sniff out authenticity. They will follow you if you're being you and they will not if you're being someone else," said Coale.

Coale said in her retirement she's excited to spend time with her 9-month-old grandchild and maybe even will write a book.