June 25, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. -- The Mission Statement of the University of Oklahoma Athletics Department includes the well known credo, "Inspiring champions today and preparing leaders for tomorrow."
When your team racks up 21 straight semesters with a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or better, you are certainly preparing your student athletes for life away from the court.
That has been the case under OU women's basketball head coach Sherri Coale during her 11-year tenure. The former English teacher, with continual assistance from OU's award winning academic services department, has always emphasized the books on the same level as the basketballs.
"One of my favorite parts of gameday is seeing our former players," said Coale. "I love to share our success with them and feel their excitement for our program.
"But that pales in comparison to the pride I have in their personal successes. We have so many former players who are doing tremendous things in the community and too many times their public story ends on the sports page when they leave the basketball arena. These ladies should be celebrated for the first class ambassadors of this institution and state that they have become."
With those success stories in mind, SoonerSports.com is beginning a summer feature series that will bring to light the professional ventures several former Sooner stars.
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A Norman native, Shannon Selmon came to OU in 1998 and was a standout post defender and three-year letter winner. During her stint at Oklahoma, Selmon was known for her work ethic and explosiveness.
Selmon graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2002 with an education degree and a master's in human relations. She was ready to head to the classroom when a new door was opened.
In the summer of 2004 Selmon and younger brother Zac, a tight end at Wake Forest University, started the Shine Foundation, a non-profit organization, located in Norman, set up to aid those in need, with a focus on war torn Liberia.
"I had always planned to teach," said Selmon. "But God opened different doors. It's not what I had planned, but its better."
Since 2004, the Shine Foundation has sent numerous medical missions to Liberia, in addition to hosting pastoral conferences and building the Britt Academy, a school for orphans at the Rainbow Town Orphanage.
With five staff members and numerous volunteers in Norman, the non-profit organization also has two full-time staffers in Liberia, who serve as the liaisons.
"They are the ones who keep in constant contact with the orphanages and others to see what they need," said Selmon. "We want to know what they need, so we can help."
The organization is looking to expand their efforts into other parts of the world over the next few years, with plans to possibly build a school in Zambia.
"We want to be able to serve wherever God leads us," said Selmon. "That's what our goal is."
Although she is not in a traditional classroom Selmon has put her teaching degree to good use. When her family adopted three children from Liberia (ages 7, 10 and 12) she took on the role as their teacher, home schooling all three, and helping them adjust to their new surroundings.
"I really love what I do," said Selmon. "The vision and goal is for the Foundation to continue to grow and expand and to help more and more people."
More Where Are They Now Features
Dionnah Jackson - 6-16-07
Caton Hill - 6-21-07
Shannon Selmon - 6-25-07