Jessika Carrington has made good on fulfilling a lifelong dream of staking a claim in sunny Los Angeles.
The 2006 Shawnee High School graduate, after a brief stint as team manager for Sherri Coale’s University of Oklahoma Sooners, is now serving as administrative assistant to Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and the University of Southern California Trojans.
Cooper-Dyke, a former USC player, Olympic medalist and WNBA player, is in her first year at the helm of the USC women’s basketball program.
Carrington’s desire to live in The Golden State began at a very young age.
“I don’t know why, but ever since I was the fourth grade I’ve wanted to live in California,” she said. “I wanted to live on the beach.”
Well, she’s about as close as one can get. USC is on the southwest side of Downtown Los Angeles, and about 10 miles from the coastline at Marina Del Rey.
Carrington, a lifelong Sooner fan, earned her bachelor’s degree in human relations from OU in 2010. She then received her master’s of education degree in intercollegiate athletic administration in 2012.
As team manager for the Sooners, her duties included managing equipment and helping the coaching staff and administration with daily tasks. This included coordinating practices and working through the breakdown of game films.
“Coach Coale would emphasize that, as a manager, your job is to make sure our practices run smooth, because if not we are not going to be where we need to be,” Carrington said.
Coale told her to make it a “well-oiled machine,” and her skills were quickly noticed by Cooper-Dyke. Carrington said as a longtime fan of Cooper-Dyke, she was initially shocked when she received a phone call from her, but was honored and jumped at the opportunity to take the job.
Her position with the Trojans will be more of a one-on-one effort with the coaching staff, Carrington said.
“She’s awesome. She’s great,” Carrington said of Cooper-Dyke.
Carrington originally wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy or health and exercise science, but after observing how team management worked she opted for the switch during her sophomore year at OU. Having already lived in LA for the past month, she said the transition from small-town life to big-city life has not been that difficult. She spent time traveling with family when she was younger, and she traveled everywhere the Sooners went — including Haiti.
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The only major change she is dealing with is the traffic, she said.
Carrington, who was a member of the National Honor Society, was very involved in high school sports at SHS. She played basketball and threw shot and discus, and was a cheerleader.
According to the university’s website, Carrington is not the only native Oklahoman to be a part of the current USC Trojans program. Carl Albert High School graduate Desireé Bradley, at 6-1, is a senior forward.