Sooner Coaches Shaped by Mothers
NORMAN -- In celebration of Mother's Day, Oklahoma's head coaches share some of their favorite memories with their moms and the impact they made on their lives.
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Sherri Coale, Women's Basketball
“The way she handled her battle with cancer is the way she handles every single thing that has come across her plate and that is to do the next right thing. To never complain and to never voice need or whine or worry even. She just has this tremendously optimistic outlook, and it’s grounded in a very strong faith. If you ask her, she’s always having a good day. I don’t really know that I’ve ever seen her have a bad day, and she hardly spends time or money on herself. She’s just about serving others and is a remarkable example. I think her fight through the battle of Lymphoma was a perfect representation of all that she is."
Mark Cody, Wrestling
“Support wise, even when I was competing, I could always hear my mother’s voice over anyone else’s, even if it was a loud gym and everyone was in there yelling and screaming. She’s very passionate about her family and wrestling is like that. Wrestling is like your other family, and I’m like that now with my own family and also like that with the kids in our program. I want to see them succeed academically and athletically, and that all comes from Mom.”
Leeanne Crain, Rowing
“I am so grateful for the many lessons my mom has taught me. She is patient and compassionate, and has always been there as a source of inspiration as I’ve navigated through life. As a coach, I do my best to apply some of the wisdom I learned from her at a young age and to instill the same level of confidence in my athletes that she instilled in me.”
Veronique Drouin-Luttrell, Women's Golf
“From the day I first picked up a golf club, my mom has always been there for me. She has taught me many qualities that I utilize on a daily basis in my coaching career and daily life like being totally committed in what you are doing, being patient, and having a strong work ethic. My mom has always been a great role model for me as a woman, wife, and friend! Thank you and love you mom."
Patty Gasso, Softball
“My mom raised three kids on her own so we knew about hard work. She instilled in us working hard and saving money to buy things. She’s very proud because she was an athlete who probably wishes she could be doing what I’m doing right now, but back in those days those opportunities weren’t given to women. So I think she’s kind of living through me right now, and all I want to do is make her proud.”
Pete Hughes, Baseball
“My mom passed away when I was 22, but still today she’s my moral compass. Every difficult decision, every difficult conversation I have I run by with my mom in mind. She was a nurse -- she took care of others when she wasn’t at home. Then when she came home, she took care of everybody.”
Ryan Hybl, Men's Golf
“My mom and I don’t have many pics anymore because she is too busy being a Grandma, or as we call her, Nonna. She has always been the most supportive and loving person for me and my family. She genuinely would give up everything for me and my girls and that is what great moms are like... Happy Mother’s Day Mom!”
K.J. Kindler, Women's Gymnastics
“Since I was four years old, she drove me back and forth to practice every single day, 30 to 40 minutes. She would spend four hours at my grandmother’s house waiting for me and then come pick me up again. She’s the mom of six children; I can’t imagine how she did it with six children. Last year she became a yoga instructor; she just has this amazing energy. Her role was absolutely pertinent in me becoming a gymnastics coach because I was able to do the sport of gymnastics because she was selfless.”
Lon Kruger, Men's Basketball
“She was the best. She was a stay-at-home mom. With six children, everything she did was motivated to help her children. She was a mother hen for sure in terms of fighting like crazy for us. How caring and loving and sacrificing all of her time and needs for her children. As children, you don’t fully appreciate that at the time, but certainly you do as you get a little bit older.”
David Mullins, Women's Tennis
“I was very fortunate to have a mother that always encouraged me to be independent and explore the world and my potential. She sacrificed a lot so that I could pursue my passion for tennis and was always my biggest cheerleader and advocate.”
Matt Potter, Soccer
“Hard to put into words what my mum has taught, inspired and given to me. All I know is that I will be forever grateful. My mum taught me the value of family, the value of education and the value of character. I hope I can work toward making her proud and by giving my best in some way, I hope she sees her good work in my actions. Everything was done with love, not always pleasant or what I wanted but always with love. I don’t get to see her every day, but I hope she knows I think of her daily. Love you mum. Happy Mother’s Day!”
Santiago Restrepo, Volleyball
“She has meant the world to me. When I was 17 years old, my dad passed away and she was the one that had to take care of five sons. I love her for doing that and getting us to where we are today. She is a very loving mother, very kind, very supportive and I miss her dearly."
John Roddick, Men's Tennis
“My mom has been the push in my life. A very special person. Tough, loyal, loving and inspiring. She is a true example of what a parent is and should be."
Bob Stoops, Football
“All mothers are so special around the world, and mine as well, for all the sacrifices that they make throughout their lives for us children so that we can chase our visions and dreams. With six children, my mom was incredibly patient and she gave us all a great deal of strength and toughness. And I appreciate the extra patience she had with me since I was the problem middle child. So thank you, Mom."
Jim VanHootegem, Track & Field
“My mother definitely served as a source of inspiration in learning to do the best you can at a task. Most of the time she lead by example, but a specific memory was from when I was in junior high school and she tutored me in math. In a short time, I went from the middle of the class to the top and it was strictly due to her teaching me to push myself to be my best. I don’t use a lot of mathematics in my daily life now, but I did learn the lesson that we are all capable of doing more."
Mark Williams, Men's Gymnastics
“My mom was the quiet support behind my gymnastics. She took me to practice, cleaned my uniforms, made special meals for me and attended all my competitions. She worried when I didn't do well and celebrated when there were championships. Through the good days and the bad, my mom cared for me in the way that only a mom can.”