June 27, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma women's basketball program is making history this week by achieving a feat accomplished by only a few such programs in the nation - successful completion of a fund-raising campaign endowing all 15 scholarship positions.
"We began the endowment program in 2005 with a goal of creating a perpetual source of funding for our women's basketball program," said OU head coach Sherri Coale. "The full endowment of all 15 scholarships puts us in a position to achieve self-sufficiency, an accomplishment achieved by very few programs across the country."
In the span of only 30 months, Coale and company have completed the campaign, which endows each position with a $200,000 gift from OU alumni and friends.
OU President David L. Boren said, "I am deeply grateful to those generous donors who have helped the OU women's basketball program make history by endowing scholarships for team members."
In April 2005, Coale announced the "Starting Five," supporters whose gifts established the first-ever endowed positions for the team. The "Starting Five" donors are the family of Jimmie Austin of Seminole in honor of his late wife, Lucille "Marie" Austin; the Jim and Christy Everest family of Oklahoma City; the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in honor of Mary Jane Noble of Ardmore; and Bob and Ann Coleman of San Antonio; as well as an anonymous donor.
Since January 2006, seven other donors have joined the fold: Wayne T. "Dusty" and LaFawn Biddle of Englewood Colo.; John and Sue Gibbs of Ardmore; Robert and Doris Klabzuba of Fort Worth; John and Mary Nichols of Oklahoma City; the Fast Break Club and Sooner Stilettos, women's basketball support organizations, in honor of Marita Hynes, longtime associate athletics director at OU, now retired; the Donald E. Criswell Family of Oklahoma City; and Henry Roberson of Norman.
The three endowments that completed the campaign were gifts from Jimmy Williams and Marty Kavanaugh-Williams, Debbie Morehead and Cody Pogue, all of Edmond, in honor of Coale; Steve and Becki Seay of Cheyenne; and Jeannine T. Rainbolt of Oklahoma City.
"While the financial repercussions are emphatic and will continue to resonate through the years, the relationship piece of this program has already proven priceless," said Coale. "The individuals and families who have generously endowed these positions have invested in the lives of our past, present and future student athletes."
OU Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione added, "The success of any endowment program rests with the donors who make it possible. We benefit greatly from individuals and families who share our vision for education and competition, and I cannot thank them enough for the strength they give to our program.
"I also can't thank Sherri Coale enough for her emphasis on the endowment program. She became very interested in this concept, and her energy was essential in making it a success. Sherri's focus on the goal was infectious.
"President Boren's initiative to grow the university's endowment is well-documented and extremely important. It is rewarding for our department to support his direction in this way."
Below is a list of the 15 OU Women's Basketball Endowments with foundation player and current recipient:
The Robert and Doris Klabzuba Scholarship
Foundation Player: Molly McGuire-Snively
Current Recipient: Chelsi Welch
The Mary and John Nichols Scholarship
Foundation Player: Tami Rogers
Current Recipient: Carolyn Winchester
The Henry P. Roberson Family Scholarship
Foundation Player: Jamie Talbert-Wyrick
Current Recipient: Jenna Plumley
The Seay Family Scholarship
Foundation Player: Lisa Allison
Current Recipient: Abi Olajuwon
The Jeannine T. Rainbolt Scholarship
Foundation Player: Angie Guffy-Koontz
Current Recipient: Rose Hammond