When Jackie Stiles sets her mind to something, she’s going to see it through — even when it comes to purchasing a car from a dealership almost 300 miles away.
So when the greatest athlete in the history of Missouri State University, living in Norman, Oklahoma, decided that the only place in the world she was going to purchase a car would be from Pinegar Chevrolet in Republic, it was going to happen.
Stiles, during an interview on Sports Talk on Tuesday evening, said she took an Uber from Norman to Republic just to buy a car from the Pinegar family.
“I love the whole Pinegar family and they’ve been so good to me through the years,” Stiles said. “I couldn’t wait to try and give back for all the good they’ve given to me.”
Stiles said she’s always been given a car through her different coaching stops throughout her career and she hasn’t needed to buy one until recently.
After two years as an assistant at the University of Oklahoma, Stiles was left without a job following the retirement of Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame coach Sherri Coale. The new head coach at OU, former Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk, decided to bring in an entirely new staff.
Stiles said she interviewed with Arizona State before ultimately staying in the region at Tulsa, but the use of a car wasn’t in her contract as an assistant of the Golden Hurricane.
On Monday, Stiles decided she was going to make the trip to Republic, but she couldn’t find anywhere to rent a car in the Oklahoma City area.
So with the same determination that led her to finish her Lady Bears career as the all-time leading scorer in Division I basketball history, she requested an Uber.
Stiles didn’t say how much the rideshare cost, but Uber’s online price estimate tool on Wednesday morning said the trip would cost north of $250. When checking how much the drive would cost on Tuesday night, the tool estimated it would be more than $1,000.
“It was worth it to me to buy from Pinegar,” Stiles said with a laugh.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Stiles requested the Uber pick her up from a dealership in Norman as she dropped off her OU car. The driver was late and then told Stiles that he needed to get gas.
After 20 minutes of driving around in Norman, Stiles said the driver stopped at a gas station in a “sketchy part of town” and the driver walked into the store instead of paying at the pump.
Her driver then came back and told Stiles: “I can’t take you. I have bad tires.”
Stiles said the driver then took out her bags, charged her for the drive and left her.
“I swear, the craziest things happen to me,” Stiles said.
Fortunately, she was able to request another driver who was willing to make the trip.
Her second driver took her all the way to Big Cabin, Oklahoma, where the Pinegar family sent salesman Chris Bunkelman to pick her up and escort her to Republic.
When she arrived, Stiles bought a used Cadillac mid-sized SUV from a family that has loved her since her legendary playing days in the maroon and white.
“Jackie has meant a lot to the Pinegar family,” General Manager Tad Pinegar said in a phone call Wednesday morning. “She’s a great representative of the Lady Bears’ program and Missouri State. We’re huge Missouri State people and she represents what’s great about the university.”
Stiles will now begin her new adventure as a Golden Hurricanes assistant. She will serve as the program’s recruiting coordinator and she looks forward to helping a first-time coach learn her way.
She still has dreams of becoming a head coach herself someday. She doesn’t know when that day will come, but if she brings the same determination to coaching as she does to purchasing a used car from a dealership almost 300 miles away, that day will come sooner rather than later.
“I think things happen for a reason,” Stiles said. “I’ve grown leaps and bounds since my time at Missouri State. If you’re not growing, you’re dying — that’s always been my thing.”