Turner's Impact Even Greater Today

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 23, 2012
  Teresa Turner
 Teresa Turner
  Teresa Turner
One of the first two African-American women to receive an athletic scholarship at OU, Turner continues to devote her life to today's student-athletes.
Photos Photo Gallery | Court to Classroom (2009)
 Basketball Accomplishments
 Lettered three years for the Sooners (1978, 80-81)
 Led Oklahoma with 230 rebounds (7.2/game) in 1978
 Sister of OU men's basketball great Clifford Ray
 Beyond Basketball
 Earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology from OU  in 1981. Also holds a master's degree in guidance  and counseling.
 Has spent nearly 20 years as an administrator and  advisor in OU's student-athlete academic center
 Currently holds the position of Assistant Director of  Athletic Academic Affairs and Director of Career  Development in OU's Prentice Gautt Academic Center
 Long-time member of the City of Norman Human  Rights Commission
 Also serves on the boards of directors for the United  Way of Norman and Cleveland County YMCA
NORMAN, Okla. -- Teresa Turner didn't know what kind of impact she was making when she got to Oklahoma in 1978 as a freshman on the women's basketball team.

But she does now.

And it really has little to do with basketball, being one of the first two females to earn an athletic scholarship at OU or breaking down any barriers associated with being an African-American.

It has everything to do with what she does today.

"Basketball was a vehicle for me and what I wanted to do," Turner said. "I knew I wanted to do something in athletics."

That something has manifested itself into Turner working with OU athletes -- past and present -- every day as the Assistant Director for Athletic Academic Affairs.

As OU celebrates Black History Month with stories on former Sooners Prentice Gautt, Lee Roy Selmon and Wayman Tisdale, Turner continues to make a difference at Oklahoma on a daily basis.

"They all have something in common," OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione said. "All of them would be the first to put the spotlight on others and take it away from themselves."

In 1978 that spotlight was on Turner, then Teresa Ray, younger sister of OU basketball great Clifford Ray. Turner moved to Norman from South Carolina, graduated from Norman High and then, along with Joyce Parker, was awarded a scholarship.

Significant at the time, but not to Turner.

"I didn't even think about all that other stuff then," she said. "I was more worried about the inconsistency with the coaching staff, and I knew at the time I didn't want to do anything to jeopardize our scholarship. I knew that sports weren't going to last forever, either."

Turner went on to play four years at OU, then worked in a different position at Oklahoma before beginning her work with student-athletes.

"What makes her special is that Teresa can relate to the issues of academics and athletics," said Marita Hynes, who spent 27 years at OU as a coach and athletics administrator, retiring in 2003 as Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator.

"She's excellent in her position. She keeps everyone in line."

That line starts and ends in her office where she counsels, nurtures, prods and encourages OU student-athletes dealing with all different types of academic and athletic issues.

"My impact at OU is different," Turner said. "Maybe some people know me for having played Division I basketball, but my impact has been since basketball. The opportunity to work with student-athletes is phenomenal. That's the biggest thing."

And a continuous thing. Turner not only works with current athletes from the football and women's basketball team, she also is in touch with others who may not be competing any more but are still in school. Or maybe with athletes who are out of school but are looking to get back in to complete their degree.

"It's nice to be able to help people throughout the process," she said. "We value the whole family here and we want everyone to have a good experience. My goal is to make sure no one feels like they aren't cared for, whether they are playing ball or not. I want to make sure the students feel like they can call any time and they are valued."

That's probably why her phone is constantly ringing and why former students always seem to look her up.

"The first thing I always hear is, 'Is Ms. Teresa around,'" said Zac Selmon, who works down the hall from Turner as an assistant director in the Sooner Club. "What a great ambassador for our department."

A former athlete, a counselor and a friend.

"What I know about her is that she's a friend no matter what," said former teammate Janet Southard. " You call her up and if you haven't talked for 20 years, it's still the same. She's been through it all. That's what makes her a great mentor for student-athletes."
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This is the final feature in a special four-part series as OU celebrates Black History Month.

Prentice Gautt Lee Roy Selmon Wayman Tisdale
Prentice Gautt
Gautt's impact is still felt at Oklahoma and beyond.
Lee Roy Selmon
As dominant as he was on the field, his legacy...
Wayman Tisdale
Tisdale captivated fans with his infectious smile.
Teresa (Ray) Turner
Turner continues to give back to student-athletes.




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