Winter 2022

Jacie Hoyt leading through faith in 1st season at Oklahoma State: 'He is on the move'

It hasn’t taken long for Jacie Hoyt to make an impact on the Oklahoma State women’s basketball program. In her first year at the helm, she has a Cowgirls team that went 9-20 last season off to a 13-4 start and riding a three-game winning streak in Big 12 play.

Hoyt got the Oklahoma State job this offseason thanks to her work at the University of Missouri Kansas-City, where she posted an 81-65 record over five seasons. She was the youngest head coach in Division I women’s basketball when she was hired in 2017 and led the Roos to a Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship in 2020.

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The daughter of a legendary high school coach in Kansas, Hoyt originally committed to play for Oklahoma State before changing her mind due to a coaching change. Her journey back to Stillwater has been full of ups and downs.

Injuries derailed her college career. The pandemic took away her best chance of coaching in the NCAA Tournament. Yet, Hoyt knew God was at work through it all.

“Now getting to see what God was doing in those moments, there’s no way I could ever deny His hand in where I’m at now and just all the ways that He was orchestrating things in every way, shape and form,” she said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in November. “It’s just amazing to me.”

Hoyt got her first Big 12 win Jan. 7 against Texas and followed that up with a victory at Baylor, which was ranked 18th in the country at the time. The win ended a run of 14 consecutive OSU losses to the Bears.

In the locker room after the game, Hoyt made sure God got all the praise and led her team in prayer.

“I promised that I would give God the glory in that moment, so we’re going to pray right now, OK, because He is working,” she told her players. “He is on the move at Oklahoma State right now, and we’re going to give it back to Him.”

After the Baylor win came an 80-70 victory at home over TCU on Saturday that moved Oklahoma State to 3-2 in conference.

Guard Naomie Alnatas earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors Monday after scoring 41 total points in the two wins.

In her appearance on the Sports Spectrum Podcast, Hoyt shared that one of her goals as a coach is to make sure those on her team see themselves as more than basketball players. She knows from her own personal experience how difficult that can be.

“I was the type that, if I wasn’t playing well, my whole world wasn’t going well,” Hoyt said. “I put my whole identity in me and my performance as a player, so I really am adamant about helping our players understand their identity outside of basketball. I want them to know their worth and their value far beyond the game.”

As part of her pregame routine, Hoyt prays for her players while they are on the court warming up. She got the idea from a mentor and has noticed the difference it’s made on the way she handles the stress of game days.

“That will change you as a coach when you start looking at [players] through the lens of just seeing Jesus in them and helping them feel His love,” she said on the podcast. “I coach totally different when I’m doing that.”

A trip to No. 18 Iowa State on Wednesday begins a stretch of three ranked opponents in four games for Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls face No. 15 Oklahoma on Saturday and No. 25 Texas on Jan. 28.

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