Current, former players react to Guevara's retirement, Oesterle taking over
Over the past 12 years, Central Michigan women’s basketball has had a lot of success.
Success that belongs to now-former coach Sue Guevara.
Guevara has earned respect in the college basketball world over that time. Her own players and assistant coaches, as well as opponents, have spoken highly about her over the years.
Just this past March, as the Chippewas were in the middle of their second straight NCAA Tournament, legendary Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw was asked about the Chippewas.
"I have a lot of respect for Sue Guevara," McGraw said. "She's done an outstanding job. I don't think of them as a Mid-Major. They're a team that's getting an at-large bid."
Central Michigan Life reached out to former and current players to get their reaction on Guevara’s retirement and what words of wisdom she had given them during their time with her at CMU.
One of the first to respond was Reyna Frost. Frost, who was a key part of the latest Chippewa team and the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, has a deal to play in professionally in Italy.
“I couldn’t imagine having a better coach for my college career," Frost said. "Coach G kept me motivated to be the best player and student I could be. She always wanted to better herself as a coach and person. Every game the team wanted to play hard for her and get the wins for her. She has a high basketball IQ and spread that IQ to the rest of us. She knew I had a problem with playing confidently and over analyzing things.
“She told me she wanted me to remember the word freedom. She wanted me to just play and not think. I became a lot more confident in myself and she taught me how to be a great leader. I’m very thankful for her and hope she has a happy retirement.”
Guevara told the current team in a meeting Friday morning at 9:45 a.m. and sophomore center Jahari Smith was surprised.
“What in the world, that was my initial reaction,” Smith said.
Once the morning meeting started, sophomore guard Anika Weekes said she understood what was going to happen.
“She had a twitch in her eye and I was like, 'Oh yeah, someone is leaving',” Weekes said.
When asked about Heather Oesterle as the next head coach, both Weekes and Smith were not shocked. As a matter of fact, they were glad to know she was in charge, rather than someone else.
“That wasn’t news,” Smith said. “We knew when coach left, Heather was gonna come in.”
"We’re glad its Heather and not someone else," Weekes said.
Smith said most players knew last season that at some point the transition was going to happen. Maybe not quite this soon, but the expectation internally was that Oesterle was going to be taking over.
Perhaps no other former player is better to ask about Guevara than Oesterle.
Oesterle, who played for Guevara at Michigan, had plenty of encouraging words to share from Guevara.
“I’ve known her since I was in middle school,” Oesterle said. “We literally can finish each other’s sentences that’s how close we are. For her to go into Michael’s office and say I need two things, I need Heather to get this opportunity.
"She’s done everything possible to help me get to this place."