Where are they now: Forte reflects on the best five years of his life

Phil Forte (copy)

The college glory days don’t last forever.

For some, they move up in life quicker than expected.  

Some former athletes go into coaching immediately and other take time away from the game.

Former Oklahoma State basketball standout Phil Forte III went into coaching immediately after graduating. Forte went to St. Louis University as a graduate student manager under former OSU coach Travis Ford.

Forte is now an assistant coach at Sam Houston State University.

Forte said he was close to staying in St. Louis for a player development role, but an offer came that he couldn’t refuse.

“I had a run-in with coach (Jason) Hooten,” Forte said. “I had a conversation with him, and about a month and a half later they had a position come open. I interviewed for the job, and got it so it was kind of last minute. I was two days away from signing a lease in St. Louis. So it’s just crazy how everything comes together and how life works. I obviously couldn’t pass up on being an assistant coach.”

Forte said he has always wanted to coach, but doesn’t like to think about the future to often and wants to focus on how he can be the best coach at where he is now.

“You never really know where you are going to end up,” Forte said. “So I try to focus on where I’m at now and be the best coach at Sam Houston State and be the best for our program and our guys that we have here and our coach for the university that I am working for. Now, I’d be lying to say that one day if I could ever end up back at Oklahoma State that would be awesome. You know that would be a lie, sure if there was one that would ever come to mind it would be great to be back in Stillwater someday because there are just so many memories there, and that was the best five years of my life.”

In his time at OSU, Forte was a dynamic three-point shooter and the Cowboys’ answer to losing Keiton Page. Forte had an immediate impact for the Cowboys.

In his freshman season, Forte played in 33 games and shot 37% from the field. He averaged 10.2 points per game and 33.8% from three-point range.

His best season came in his junior year, where he averaged 15 points per game. Forte shot 42.4% from the field, 38% from three and started all but one game for the Cowboys.

Forte scored 1,746 points in his career and had a 39.5% shooting percentage from beyond the arc.

Forte and the Cowboys had a lot of quality wins and big upsets.

One that immediately came to Forte’s mind was an upset-win in Lawrence, Kansas against the No.1 Jayhawks in 2013.

Cowboy fans may remember this game from the post-game celebration of Forte fist bumping and Marcus Smart doing a backflip at center court.

One Bedlam memory that stuck out to him was in senior year when the Cowboys won both games.

"My last year when I was playing for coach [Brad] Underwood,” Forte said. “We went there and won in Norman for the first time, in probably eight to 10 years, and we went there and I hit the game winner there. It was my last year my senior year you add all that in it’s a very special moment. Then we played them at home about a month later and that game was crazy it was back and forth we came back late and that was the first time we swept them in probably 10 years as well. It was my last time playing Oklahoma both those game my senior year was very special because you know it is what it is but. When you go to Oklahoma State you just don’t like Oklahoma. That’s just what it is. When you’re there for five years like I was the rivalry really just gets in your blood.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com