Women's Basketball graduation day
AUSTIN, Texas -- Three Longhorns women's basketball players had a fitting end to their successful time at the Forty Acres when they attended their respective graduation ceremonies on May 19.
Taking the proud graduation "walk" Friday were Tamra Cobbins, Nina Norman and Coco Reed. Reed, a two-time Academic All-Big 12 Team honoree and the Longhorns' academic MVP the last two years, received her degree in education and sports management from the College of Education. Both Norman, an All-Big 12 standout point guard, and Cobbins are corporate communications majors, and they attended graduation ceremonies for the College of Communication wearing the College's colorful red sashes with their robes as they crossed the stage.
This trio were an integral part of UT's most recent success on the court. All three of them played on the 2003 NCAA Final Four team when UT posted a 30-5 mark en route to its brilliant run to the NCAA Final Four semifinals at the Georgia Dome. They also played big roles in Texas' Big 12 Conference regular season championships in 2003 and 2004 and its' Big 12 Tournament title in 2003. Additionally, their play and leadership helped the Longhorns vault to the No. 1 ranking in the nation during the 2004-05 campaign in February; in three of their four seasons, Texas was a top 10 team in the national polls.
"These three have been wonderful representatives of our program and The University, and I am going to miss all they've given to our basketball program," noted UT head coach Jody Conradt, who spent time with all three of her players prior to Friday's graduation ceremonies. "I am particularly proud of how they were positive leaders on our team, and I am most proud of how they performed in the classroom and how they've matured into successful young women. All three devoted themselves to Texas Basketball, and I thank them for that. I know they will have outstanding careers and will be wonderful ambassadors for The University in the years to come."
[The fourth of the four seniors on this year's Longhorns team - Daria Mieloszynska - will graduate next year with a degree in Eastern European studies, so the 6-2 Poznan, Poland native will be a familiar face around campus for the next few semesters.]
Cobbins, a native of Kansas City, Kansas will complete her studies during the summer, and currently is looking for a summer internship which will accompany her final classroom work.
"This is a huge accomplishment, and I am so happy to be the first family member from my mother's side of the family to be graduating," said Cobbins. "My parents and best friends are here to celebrate with me. You are allowed to 'walk' with your class in May if you are going to complete your degree in the summer. So, I still have summer school to look forward to along with an internship. Right now, I am going to enjoy this time with my family. My UT experience has been a total blessing, and I am thankful for everything that has happened to me, bad or good. It's been a wonderful time here."
Both Norman and Reed have moved back to their hometown of Houston, and are in midst of going through the interview process for jobs. Norman has been interviewing with telecommunications companies and restaurant management corporations in the Houston area. Reed has set her sights on an internship with the Houston Texans in their marketing department. She is hopeful to land an internship as the Texans' marketing training camp intern, a position she interviewed for recently.
"It's been a few weeks since I've been on campus since finishing up finals, and driving back from Houston I've thought a lot about my time here," noted Norman. "When I drove back up to campus and thought about graduation, it was exciting and surreal at the same time. Now that graduation is here, I feel like I just got here to UT and wonder how the four years flew by so fast! I am very very proud today, and glad that my family and best friends can share this with me."
Upon graduation from UT, each student-athlete receives a lasting symbol of their time spent on the Forty Acres - the traditional "T" ring. This ring is presented to every Longhorn letterwinner (across all sports) who graduates.
"The T-ring will symbolize it all for me, for sure," noted Reed. "I leave with great memories, great friends and great learning experiences.
"If I had to sum up my feelings today, I would say, total satisfaction. Many people back in my high school might have doubted me, but I fought through all that and had great support here at UT with my coaches and the academic staff. And, I found my way through hard work and great guidance and had lots of academic success. This day is for my family and friends. I am happy to know that I made a lot of people happy and proud that I get my degree from UT. When I look back at my time here, and I look at that "T" ring, I will do it with a lot of pride myself."