STILLWATER, Okla. —
Clay Stephens has always been a small-town sort of guy. He grew up in a small town and began his career coaching at places like Hennessey before spending the past 12 years guiding Frontier’s girls basketball team to three state championships.
Now Stephens and his three state championships will be coming to the big city of Stillwater as the new coach for the Lady Pioneers.
“We think we hit a home run with it,” Stillwater athletic director Tucker Barnard said. “He’s a great, great basketball coach. I’ve just met him, but by all accounts he’s a good man. He’s had success everywhere he’s been — three state championships at Frontier and was runner-up with two state tournament appearances at Hennessey. We’re very, very fortunate and very, very happy. We had a lot of applicants for this job and it took a lot of work just to narrow the list down. We talked to some really good people, but man, do we feel like we came out with a winner.”
Stephens will take over for Carl Treat, who resigned last month for undisclosed reasons. Treat’s squad was 13-10 during a campaign marred by injuries in his final season as Stillwater’s coach.
“Coach Treat has done a good job here for several years,” Barnard said. “I know that’s hard for everybody and it was hard for him to make that decision, but it was just something he felt like it was time for.
“A lot of our girls were really upset about coach Treat’s departure, as they should be. That’s the guy they looked to for several years and has been their leader. That’s hard for them to deal with.”
Stephens, on the other hand, comes in fresh off a state quarterfinal berth at Frontier with a 23-6. Now he’s hoping to work similar magic for a Pioneer squad that’s had its ups and downs.