NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Veteran Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale apologized Sunday night after a number of former players described incidents of racial insensitivity during their time playing for the Sooners.
Former player Gioya Carter tweeted her thoughts about Coale and the comments drew support from T’ona Edwards and Ijeoma Odimgbe. Jacqueline Jeffcoat tweeted that Coale made racist comments during her time at Oklahoma.
“She hit me with several racist comments after we went to Monticello in Virginia … Thomas Jefferson’s plantation,” Jeffcoat tweeted in response to Carter. “How insensitive. Told me to take down a post bc (because) I felt strongly about it. I’m with you.”
Coale recently received a contract extension through 2024 and has coached the Sooners since 1996, winning 501 games and taking her teams to three Final Fours.
“To hear the concerns raised by my former student-athletes is disheartening, because it is clear that I have unknowingly caused harm to people I care deeply about,” Coale said. “Over my career, I have taken pride in the work that I have done on the court and the commitment to the personal growth of the women I’ve been responsible for leading. While I have always had the intent of expressing care for others, it is clear that there have been moments where my intent has not been the same as my impact — for that, I sincerely apologize.”
Athletic director Joe Castiglione said the Sooners “were unaware of the reported concerns of insensitivity in the women’s basketball program prior to the comments that were posted in the last few days” but wanted to know more.
“”I know Coach Coale – along with the rest of the women’s basketball program leadership – joins me in eagerly availing ourselves to further engage in these important conversations,” he said.