ORU names Cussen women's basketball coach
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Friday, April 27, 2012
4/27/12 at 11:27 AM
Oral Roberts University moved quickly to fill its women’s basketball head coaching vacancy Friday.
Athletic director Mike Carter said elevating 16-year assistant Misti Cussen to replace Jerry Finkbeiner at the helm was not a hiring of convenience, but of quality.
“We ‘ve been contacted by a healthy list of head coaches (who are) interested in our program,” Carter said. “We certainly could have conducted an extensive interview process, but chose not to because we believe the perfect candidate is right here on our campus. She’s a bright young lady and a star, and she’s ready to become a head coach.”
Cussen was introduced during a 10 a.m. news conference at the Mabee Center, less than 24 hours after Finkbeiner, her boss for the past 16 years, was introduced as the new head coach at Utah State University.
“I would like to thank Mike Carter and (ORU president) Dr. Rutland and Rhonda Fowler, our senior women’s administrator, for their trust in me,” Cussen said.
“Our program is an established program and these are big shoes to fill, stepping into to coach Finkbeiner’s shoes. The good thing is that in coming here with him in 1996, it was a great opportunity to feel like it was being built from the ground up, and I got to see every brick that got laid to get our program it is today,” she said.
Cussen played for Finkbeiner at Southern Nazarene University and joined his SNU staff in 1996, shortly before Finkbeiner landed the ORU job. She followed Finkbeiner to Tulsa and has been his lead assistant ever since.
She has recruited many of the Golden Eagles' top players and had much to do with the success of the program, which includes five NCAA Tournament appearances and six seasons with 20 or more wins.
Cussen, wife of University of Tulsa women's soccer coach Kyle Cussen, becomes the 10th head coach in school history.
“For both Kyle and I, our coaching professions are a calling. It’s just what we feel like the Lord has created us for and called us to do,” she said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to continue doing it here at ORU. I just love this university, what it stands for, what it’s given an opportunity to build into our students over the years. It’s just a huge opportunity and I’m so grateful.”