John Nichols, Sports Writer
Dionne Phelps, men’s basketball coach, understands the importance of instilling not only athletic excellence in his players but also a sense of academic achievement.
If Phelps is not in the gym helping players sharpen their skills on the court, he is roaming from classroom to classroom, making sure they maintain good grades and attendance.
“Accountability is No. 1,” he said. “Basketball is not the only experience to be had here, and making sure these guys get everything possible out of their time here is very important.”
The team’s has an average GPA of 2.7, and the members host semiweekly study sessions.
Even though Phelps is in his first year of coaching at the university, he’s been part of collegiate athletics for years.
In his 22-year career coaching basketball, Phelps has trained players at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas State University, Baylor University, Texas Lutheran University, and the University of Oklahoma.
Phelps has claimed eight Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament titles and 11 SAC season championships with the various teams that he coached.
Phelps said his biggest goal is to help refine and shape the men who leave the basketball program.
“I measure my success not on wins, but on who the players become after they leave the program,” he said. “I hope to instill pride and confidence that will help carry these boys through life successfully.”
Despite the team’s fourth consecutive loss to Northwest Oklahoma State University on Jan. 28, Phelps said he plans to maintain a positive outlook.
“This season we have been feeling each other out and getting used to playing with one another,” he said. “But now the honeymoon’s over and it’s time to get the rubber on the road.”
The men’s team will play against St. Gregorys University at 5 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Abe Lemons Arena in Henry J. Freede Wellness and Fitness Center.