Teresa Edwards Teaching and Learning

The names and faces that make up the Tulsa Shock are well-known throughout the community. Coach Nolan Richardson, Sheryl Swoopes, Marion Jones and Elizabeth Cambage are prominent on the court but the most historic name in the women's game, Teresa Edwards, is settling the team behind-the-scenes.

Although her notoriety in Tulsa may have yet to spark, nonetheless, she is a legend among basketball fans around the world.

As a junior in high school, Edwards was recruited to become the youngest women’s basketball player to compete in a USA Basketball national tournament. That moment set the tone for the next 30 years of Edwards’ incredible career in women’s basketball.

She made tremendous strides in her college career in the 1980s and in 1984 she earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Edwards would go on to compete in the 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics and won four gold medals. On August 12, she will be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame.

She has also played professionally in five other countries, ending her career in the U.S. as a 2003 and 2004 WNBA Minnesota Lynx guard. After all of her travels, all her recognition and awards, her path has led her to Tulsa. where she now serves as the Shock’s Director of Personnel.

“It is a great opportunity to be a part of the Shock and be a part of women’s basketball at this level,” Edwards said. “This position is an opportunity to bridge the gap between Coach Nolan Richardson and Coach Wayne Stehlik with the female version of the game. I embody the women’s game. I’ve been on every level. They are going to take me for everything I am worth and they are going to put me out on the court and use everything I have to help with the actual game.”

Her job description is all inclusive and be main responsibility is to be the best Edwards she can be.

“I’ll do whatever needs to be done,” Edwards said. “I am hoping to be as natural and as organic as I can be. I think that’s my biggest contribution is being myself. I am hoping to allow the players to be the best that they can be, and pass on as much as I can pass on and as much as they can absorb.”

As a coach, she brings her experience, reputation and love for the game every time she steps out on the on the court. And she is also absorbing all they she can from the players and Coach Richardson, especially.

“This is a good opportunity for me to learn from Coach,” Edwards said. “He is a historian for the game. Not just for men, but some of the stances that he took throughout his career helped all of us as people, as a race, and as basketball players. It’s a rare opportunity to meet someone who can teach me things I’ve never seen before. That’s really what it’s all about – learning and growing.”

With a team of young, eager, talented women, Edwards said interacting with the 11 Shock players pushes her to stay on top of her own game.

“These kids are soaking up every word I say,” Edwards said. “They challenge me to have an answer for every scenario that comes up. That’s forcing me always be thinking about the game and never lax and most importantly I don’t want to let them down.”

It has been a slow start to the 2011 season, but Edwards believes it is never too late for her team to tap into the potential and talent that lies within the Tulsa Shock.

“We have to create our own identity. The past is past. We are going to move forward. From this year forward, we must be held accountable for who we are, for the identity and pace we set. And we want to make something special happen. I know we are building something special here.”

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