The Findleys share their story
By Megan Scharf
From The Talon
After many struggles and triumphs, a long path led Stephanie and Dean Findley to their current positions with Oklahoma Christian University.
Stephanie, head coach of women’s basketball, and Dean, athletic director, met as students at Oklahoma Christian University and married during their senior year. After graduation, Stephanie continued her education and Dean worked for a computer programing company called EDP Systems.
“I started working on my masters degree right after school and was assisting Max Dobson who worked here as head coach for part-time, because I also worked at enterprise square,” Stephanie said. “When the wife of Dobson retired, there was a number teaching positions open and so that is when the job became full-time for me.”
During the spring of 1985, Dobson made the decision to teach and retired from his coaching position, leaving a position open for Stephanie.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie said she did not originally see herself in the position she is in today.
“I started out wanting to be a physical therapist and for the first couple of years,” Stephanie said. “[I] went that direction [with] the classes that I was taking. At some point I decided I wanted the school calendar to raise a family so I could have summers off.”
However, she never thought coaching at the collegiate level would be an option for her.
“I changed my major to high school education thinking I would be a high school teacher and coach,” Stephanie said. “So I didn’t picture myself coaching at this level, no. I was very lucky to get this one.”
The company Dean worked for eventually dissolved, leaving him unemployed.
“I had five years of experience in the computer field and so after I left my job, no one wanted to hire me in an entry-level position,” Dean said. “My dad was a fire chief and was retiring after about 25 years and they were taking applications.”
Stressful times took a toll on the Findley family during Dean’s time as a firefighter.
“[The] fire department is very stressful because you are constantly up and you can’t sleep at night because there could be an emergency at any time,” Dean said. “It is nice to be able to sleep in your own bed and not have to worries about calls coming in and you can start relaxing.”
The long shifts made it challenging with scheduling for the family.
“Because he worked 42 hours, I was at home by myself,“ Stephanie said. “And then when the basketball team would travel he would be at home by himself, so that would sometimes present challenges. My parents helped out sometimes and lived close enough to help out with my daughters, Jessica and Jordan.”
According to Stephanie, coaching was not easy on the rest of the family.
“When you are raising a family, coaching can be very challenging, especially when [the children] are little,” Stephanie said. “But you just have to sometimes bring them to practices with you. But it also doesn’t get easier when they’re older. The challenge was wanting to watch them do different activities or be present at different things.”
Dean’s work ethic as a firefighter eventually led him to the position he holds today as director of academic excellence in athletics. Switching to a profession that is not on 24-hour shifts made life easier for the Findley family, Dean said.
“I worked for three or four months in both places,” Dean said. “[It is] a lot different than the fire department, not life threatening, but I like helping students who are not getting the grade they wanted or the classes they want.”
Oklahoma Christian’s atmosphere has helped the family to relax and be thankful for a new way of life.
“It’s refreshing here at OC because every one seems to have a common goal,” Dean said.
Students like junior Sydney Hill appreciate the skills of Stephanie.
“Sometimes practices are rough and games can be hard, but I am glad that I am here playing for OC and I’m also thankful for Coach Findley."
Dean is currently taking classes and pursuing his Ph.D. He is also teaching a number of fire safety courses at the University of Central Oklahoma. Stephanie continues her work as women’s basketball coach.