Cussen to take over at ORU
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Friday, April 27, 2012
4/27/12 at 2:23 AM
Oral Roberts University apparently isn't waiting long to find a new leader for its women's basketball program.
Misti Cussen, Jerry Finkbeiner's lead assistant since he arrived on campus in 1996, will be introduced as his successor during a 10 a.m. Friday press conference at the Mabee Center, sources told the Tulsa World.
The announcement came some nine hours after Finkbeiner was introduced as the new women's head coach at Utah State University during a Thursday press conference.
ORU athletic director Mike Carter could not be reached for comment, but many ORU fans will be pleased by Cussen's hiring.
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 she is highly thought of by the ORU faithful.
She is pictured in the school's 2011-12 Fact Book standing just over Finkbeiner's left shoulder at courtside as he cheers on his players.
Cussen, wife of University of Tulsa women's soccer coach Kyle Cussen, would become the 10th women's head coach in school history.
She played high school basketball in El Reno and started her college career at the University of Kansas (1989-91) before transferring to Southern Nazarene to finish her final two college seasons.
She received a bachelor's degree from SNU in 1993 and a master's degree from there in 1994. She joined Finkbeiner's SNU staff in 1996 and followed him to Tulsa when Finkbeiner landed the ORU job.
She and her husband have two children, Cassie and Cala.
At Utah State, Finkbeiner succeeds Raegan Pebley, who left to become Fresno State's new women's coach. She guided the Aggies to WNIT appearances the past two years.
"He's exactly what we're looking for in a coach," Utah State athletic director Scott Barnes said of Finkbeiner.
Finkbeiner went 275-208 with six 20-win seasons. The Eagles' WNIT appearance in 2011-12 was their third straight.
With Finkbeiner's "run, gun and have fun" style of play, the Eagles led the nation in scoring at 85.5 points per game in 2009-10, ranked second in 2010-11 (84.4) and were 20th this past season (72.6).
Finkbeiner leaves behind a veteran core led by senior-to-be Kevi Luper, three-time Summit League player of the year. The Eagles open play in the Southland Conference in 2012-13.
Before coming to ORU in 1996, Finkbeiner was women's head coach at SNU for six seasons and led the school to consecutive NAIA national titles in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
Mike Brown 918-581-8390
Former ORU coach Jerry Finkbeiner directs his players during a basketball game against IUPUI at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa on Monday, February 13, 2012. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World