TULSA, Okla. – Most coaches nowadays have a sense of what it's like to play collegiate basketball and that's just the case for ORU women's basketball Associate Head Coach Kyron Stoke and Assistant Coach Jaci Inman.
Having the ability for coaches to relate to student-athletes is an important quality for good coaches to have. Knowing what the players are enduring on a daily basis trying to balance school as well as being an athlete provides a different outlook. The relation allows the coaches to have more of an understanding and connection with the players as a collective group and/or on an individual level.
"I think it allows us to relate with them more," Associate Head Coach Kyron Stokes said. "As coaches we have been in their shoes, we have faced some of the same obstacles they will face. It gives us the opportunity to give them some wisdom."
However, it's not all that common when coaches get to do what they love and pour in to student-athletes at their alma mater. For Inman and Stokes, they both get to live that out daily. They both feel this gives them an advantage because they have first-hand experience as to what it was like being a student-athlete at ORU.
"I think having played here at ORU definitely gives me an advantage as a coach," Assistant Coach Jaci Inman said. "I can understand and directly relate to almost everything that our athletes experience both on and off the court. I have literally walked in their shoes. I know the emotions they are experiencing as well as the challenges they may face. I think it gives me a unique perspective and I am blessed to have that common ground with them."
Even though coaches who played the game have the ability to relate, times change and coaches have to adapt to the new ways of how current student-athletes handle their experience. Everyone is different and even though there is a short gap between these coaches and players. It's not necessarily the same as when they played.
"To put it lightly, student-athletes have way more distractions now," Stokes said. "Social Media has changed everything. Instead of being in a gym, they're snapping and tweeting. It's not their fault, it's what everyone is doing these days."
You might ask yourself why these coaches would choose to stay at the place where they played. Why wouldn't they go out an explore opportunities elsewhere? Oral Roberts University is unlike any other Division I university. There's one word that applies as to why both Coaches Inman and Stokes stayed at ORU and that word is pride.
"I absolutely love it," Stokes said. "ORU has been good to me ever since I stepped on campus. I got saved here my freshman year, met my wife and experienced so much through the game of basketball. I love everything about this university and what it stands for. You can't get THIS anywhere else in the country, I believe that 100 percent. That makes staying here a no brainer."
"It's such a blessing to have the opportunity to coach were I played," Inman said. "I have such pride in this university and what our program stands for. I stayed at ORU because it is home to me. I love this university and everything it's about both on and off the court!"
This season the ORU women's basketball team has high, attainable goals. Both coaches believe in what they are doing and the plan that has been developed. The coaches feel that the culture that has been established this season will propel the team to newer heights this season.
"I really like our group, we have five seniors this year" Stokes said. "It's been a while since we've had that luxury. Since this summer, they have created a culture of excellence and accountability. I know that it's going to carry over to the court. I've seen it in our preseason, our individual skill sessions and in our practices. We still have a ways to go, but I know people will enjoy watching our girls compete this year!"
"We will be a fun group to watch," Inman said. "We are a senior led group with a lot of experience. We are going to be high energy and high effort at all times on both ends of the floor. You will not leave disappointed!"
The ORU women's basketball team tips off the 2019-20 season Tuesday, November 5 at 11 a.m. against Central Christian inside the Mabee Center in the annual Best Field Trip Ever game.
For the latest information on ORU women's basketball, follow @ORUWBB on Twitter or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Golden Eagles Front Row App at ORUAthletics.com/frontrow or in the App Store.