Most athletes have a choice of what sport they’re going to play, but Bryn Gerlich’s fate was sealed the moment she was born.
The sophomore guard on the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team had a basketball in her hands since she could walk. Her mother, Krista Gerlich, is the UT Arlington women’s basketball coach. But years before that, Krista was a standout player for Texas Tech. She was one of three players in the school’s history to have their jersey retired.
Krista, Bryn’s mother, played for Texas Tech from 1989 to 1993, capping that off with a National Championship her senior year. She then got into coaching immediately. But that didn’t stop her from raising her daughter.
“I remember my mom telling me this story of how she had to go back to work and I was still a little baby,” Bryn said. “And she would just pass me around the stands during the games. All the parents would just pass me around.”
Bryn has been surrounded by athletes her entire life. Her father was a linebacker for Texas Tech. Her brother plays football for Colleyville Heritage High School. Even her grandfather was a high school basketball coach.
Bryn's strong influences propelled her into a high school star. She was named district MVP twice as well as the 2017 Texas Christian Athlete of the Year.
From there, she had several schools to choose from. Bryn strongly considered going to UT Arlington and playing for her mother, someone who’s had a huge impact on her.
“She’s never taken it easy on me, which is why I think I’m here,” Bryn said. “She’s definitely been my safe place. I can always go to her for everything I need. And also she’s been my coach. She’s taught me everything I know about the game.”
After struggling with the decision, Bryn finally decided to go to OSU. Krista said it was a tough decision for her daughter, but in the end, Bryn wanted to do things on her own. She wanted to make a name for herself. But more importantly, she wanted her mom to be her mom.
“It ultimately came down to just the fact that I wanted to be able to go to my mom about anything and everything,” Bryn said. “I didn’t want her to have to balance the two, like being my coach and my mom. And so it ultimately just came to that. I wanted her to be my mom.”
Krista said she’s 100% content with that.
“Out of 10 times, I’m going to choose her mom 10 times over being her coach,” Krista said.
Krista said her daughter’s decision to come to OSU had a lot to do with the city, the people and the environment. Bryn loves Stillwater and all the school spirit it holds. And the academics were a big part of her decision.
Bryn was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team last year. She said it’s important to find the balance between school and basketball because of her passion for the sport.
Bryn puts in a lot of time in the classroom, but also with her friends. Her teammates have wonderful things to say about her.
“Bryn is the sweetest human being alive,” OSU forward Abbie Winchester said. “She is so nice, she is so helpful and she’s the best. I love her.”
The sophomore guard had her best game of the season against Rice on Saturday, and she’s going to have to carry that momentum into the Cowgirls’ tough three-game stretch in the Virgin Islands.
OSU played Oregon on Thursday then Louisville on Friday before it will face off with UT Arlington. Bryn said she has mixed emotions about the game.
“Obviously, I’m nervous,” Bryn said. “I want to meet my mom, are you kidding? But also, it’s just a cool thing. Not a lot of people get to experience that. I’ve always been on the same side of the court as my mom. So that’s something that’s really fun. I think we’ve been talking like, 'We get to spend Thanksgiving together on the Virgin Islands.' How cool is that? And for 40 minutes we won’t like each other. 40 minutes.”
Krista said she’s going to have to approach the game the same way.
“It’s just odd, I think it’s really odd,” Krista said. “I’m going to have to just approach it as a game. She’s just a player. She’s going to be No. 10 for OSU when I talk about her in scout.”
Bryn has always had her mother to guide her along the way, but for 40 minutes, everything changes. It’s going to be a different dynamic on the court, but off the court, the two are looked forward to spending some time together in the Virgin Islands. But in the end, it comes down to basketball for two fierce competitors.
“I’m not losing to my mom, I’ll go ahead and say it, I’m not going to,” Bryn said.