July 23, 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 of several former Sooner stars:
Desiree Taylor was a three-year letterwinner and a one-year starter. She played in 86 career games and was one of two senior leaders that helped lead the 2000-01 team to a Big 12 regular season title and Sweet 16.
While at OU, Taylor earned numerous honors including the prestigious Jay Myers Award and the OU Pace Award. She was also named to the Academic All-Big 12 team twice, a Sooner Scholar five times, a member of the Dean's List three times and a four-time Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll member.
On the court Taylor was known for her versatility and leadership. She was also one of the strongest rebounders of the Coale era.
In May 2002 Taylor finished her time at OU, graduating with a degree in chemical engineering. Upon graduation, she moved to Fort Worth, Texas to begin a career in teaching and coaching.
She began her teaching at Apollo junior high school in her home town of Richardson, Texas. While there Taylor taught ninth grade chemistry and physics and coached basketball, volleyball and track.
After two years at the ninth grade level, Taylor moved to Central high school in Keller, Texas, to teach 11th grade physics and coach varsity basketball.
After a year at Central High School, Taylor decided to continue her education and pursue a career in another field.
In 2005 she returned to the University of Oklahoma to work towards her MBA. While in school Taylor served as a graduate assistant in the athletics academic center and ticket office.
This past May, Taylor graduated with her MBA from OU. In August, Taylor will begin working full-time in the academic services office as a learning specialist for the women's basketball team.
Her duties will require keeping the players on track academically, assisting tutors and teaching time management.
She sees the new venture as a stepping stone towards future goals within the world of sports.
"I would really like to pursue a career in athletics administration," said Taylor.
Other WATN Features...
WATN-Caton Hill WATN-Dionnah JacksonWATN-Shannon SelmonWATN-Stephanie SimonWATN-Elissa Walker-CampbellWATN-Phylesha WhaleyWATN-Michele Workman