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Oklahoma State coach stays true to Mora roots

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By Ruth Fort

Mora area native Miranda Serna, daughter of Nettie Herrera and John Serna, has been assistant women’s basketball coach and recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma State University for almost five years.

She has done well in her role as recruiting coordinator. Her biography in the Oklahoma State University sports media guide states: “As the program’s recruiting coordinator, Serna has proven to be an asset. Hitting the ground running in her first season, she helped spearhead the assembly of a nationally ranked recruiting class that has since served as the foundation for the Cowgirls’ rise through college basketball’s hierarchy and secure three consecutive postseason berths and a Top 10 NCAA ranking.”

Prior to her work at Oklahoma State Serna served at Long Beach State, Chicago State, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech as an assistant coach and recruiter. It seems regardless of where she coached, recruited or played, the teams came out ahead and won.

She said in seventh grade she learned discipline and team chemistry as she played on her first team. She thanks Coach Jeanie Abeyta for this. One day, she was not obeying the coach, who told her to leave the gym and not come back until she was ready to figure it out. After pleading and crying many tears, Serna said, she realized that discipline and hard work was her key to success. She has kept the lesson she learned from this experience throughout her career.

In the eighth and ninth grade she was asked to play for the Rangerette varsity team. Serna said she’s grateful to Albert Martinez, the varsity girls’ coach at that time, for his teaching of self-discipline, dedication and commitment to hard work.

“Coach Albert made me tough and never let me forget where I came from and told me to dream big and reach for the stars,” she said.

Serna attended the Mora Schools until she was in 10th grade. At that time her mother relocated from Mora to Northern California.

After a year in California, Serna‘s mother moved the family to Albuquerque where Miranda finished high school at Eldorado. Her last two seasons in high school, she finished her career 46-0 and won two state championships.

When Serna was in college she helped her teams win and earned individual honors herself. She was named ACCAC Freshman of the Year and earned Honorable Mention in the Kodak All-America honors while competing for Central Arizona College during the 1993-94 seasons. She also won a NJCAA national championship. She completed her college playing career at the University of Houston and then earned her bachelor’s degree in math at Texas A&M-Commerce.

At the request of the athletic coordinator of Mora High School, Serna recently spoke to the students about her experience and successes. Serna spoke of her time in Mora and the self-discipline it took to be where she is in this time of her life.

The question she said she haunts herself every day of her life with is “Am I good enough?” She challenges herself to always want to be the best. That is what she has asked herself all through her career as a player and coach, she said.

“My dream job is to come back  home one day and be Rangerette varsity coach,” she said, “and when I do come back as the head coach then I know that I am finally good enough and I am a success.”

She admonished the students to use self-discipline and obedience to the teachers and coaches and hard work to succeed. She told them of her experiences as a recruiter, traveling all over the world (Africa, Australia as well as all over the U.S.) to find the best players for her university; of the monetary advantages she has gained; and the blessing of meeting famous athletes and celebrities.

She held her audience spellbound as she told her story and encouraged them to work hard. She said she will never forget where she came from and noted that her heart and soul will always bleed Rangerette green and white.