Tyler Pigg Director/Athletics Communications, University of Oklahoma Athletics Department
NORMAN – University of Oklahoma head women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale announced Thursday the hiring of Coquese Washington as assistant coach.
Washington previously served as the head coach at Penn State from 2008-19, amassing a 209-169 record and guiding the Nittany Lions to four NCAA Tournament appearances and two Sweet 16 showings along with three Big Ten regular season championships.
"We are incredibly excited to welcome Coquese, her husband Raynell, and their family to Oklahoma,” Coale said. “Coquese is a winner. Her track record of coaching and her experience in recruiting elite talent is well-documented. She has a versatile skill set that will both benefit our student-athletes and our coaching staff. Having the opportunity to coach alongside Coquese at the 2013 World University Games for USA Basketball allowed me to see up-close the ability she has to build relationships with student-athletes and help them develop on and off the court. We are honored to welcome her into our family and anxious for her to get started in Norman."
From 2012-14, the Lady Lions claimed three straight Big Ten regular-season titles, making them one of four programs in conference history to win three or more regular season crowns in a row.
Washington’s squads won the Big Ten regular season championship outright in 2012 and 2013, while sharing the title in 2014. She also guided Penn State to appearances in the Sweet 16 in 2012 and 2014.
“I am so thrilled with the opportunity to be here at Oklahoma, working with and learning from a Hall of Fame coach,” Washington said. “Sherri Coale is an unquestioned star in our profession, and exemplifies achieving high levels of success with grace, class, integrity and dignity. The way she impacts the lives of her student-athletes is nothing short of amazing. Joining the OU family is going to be a lot of fun for me and my family, and we are eager to get to Norman and become a part of this remarkable community.”
Washington earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors three times (2012, 2013, 2014), while also being named a two-time WBCA Region Six Coach of the Year (2012, 2013) and two-time finalist for WBCA National Coach of the Year (2012, 2013). She was also selected as the 2011 and 2014 Black Coaches Association (BCA) Female Coach of the Year.
A seasoned recruiter, Washington signed six McDonald’s All-Americans during her 12 years at Penn State.
Before her arrival in State College, Washington served as an assistant coach and associate head coach at Notre Dame from 1999-2007, helping the Fighting Irish to the 2001 NCAA Championship and four Sweet 16 appearances in eight seasons.
Washington played collegiately at Notre Dame from 1989-92, serving as a captain for the Fighting Irish’s first NCAA Tournament team in 1992. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1992 and later earned her Juris Doctorate from Notre Dame in 1997.
She played six seasons in the WNBA for three different organizations from 1999-2003, helping the Houston Comets to the 2000 league championship.
Washington was also a key figure in helping create the WNBA Players Association (WNBPA), serving as the founding president of the WNBPA from 1999 until 2001. She served as the executive vice president of the WNBPA from 2001 until her retirement in 2003. Washington led negotiations for the association’s first collective bargaining agreement as the association’s president. As the executive vice president, she was a mainstay in the negotiations for the league’s second collective bargaining agreement, which brought about the first free agency system in women’s professional sports.
Both Coale and Washington have experience coaching with one another. Washington served as an assistant under Coale for the 2013 World University Games, helping the United States to a gold medal in Kazan, Russia.
A native of Flint, Mich., Washington was inducted into the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame in December 2009.
Oklahoma returns all five starters in 2019-20, including All-Big 12 Second Team selection Ana Llanusa, Big 12 All-Freshman honoree Taylor Robertson and the nation’ No. 11-ranked recruiting class according to Prospects Nation.
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