Oklahoma Christian University basketball alumna Misty VanCuren currently protects the streets of Dallas, TX, working as a detective for the Dallas Police Department. From 1988 to 1992, however, she guarded the rim as an All-State basketball player at Mustang High School in Mustang, OK.
During her time at Mustang, VanCuren competed in basketball, soccer and softball and earned All-State honors in all three sports. She remains the only Mustang High School athlete to receive All-State honors in three different sports, and, because of her accomplishments, VanCuren was named to the inaugural class of the Mustang Public Schools Athletics Hall of Fame on May 25.
While a freshman at Mustang, VanCuren won the Oklahoma 5A softball state championship. Additionally, The Oklahoman selected her as a member of the All-State Super 5 basketball team during her senior season in 1992.
VanCuren graduated and went on to play basketball at the University of Oklahoma, after she received offers from Nebraska, Texas, Vanderbilt and the University of North Carolina. She played three seasons in a Sooners uniform before transferring to Oklahoma Christian University in 1995.
During her time as an Oklahoma Christian Eagle, VanCuren averaged 13.9 points per game and earned All-Sooner Athletic Conference second-team honors.
Although she utilized all four of her years of basketball eligibility, VanCuren needed two more years to complete her Education degree. She received a softball scholarship for the 1996 and 1997 seasons, so she transitioned to a different sport on the Oklahoma Christian campus.
After graduating from Oklahoma Christian with a degree in English Education, VanCuren became a police officer with the Dallas Police Department, serving in many roles from street patrol to SWAT team member and, now, detective.
Q: What originally ignited your passion for athletics?
A: My mother signed me up for t-ball. I just wanted to wear the uniform. I didn’t really want to play. Then, when I got on the team, I was with all boys. I was the only girl on the team. My first time up to bat I had a really good hit and from then on it was really the only thing that gave me a lot of confidence. I was born with a lot of gifts, thankfully. It was my source of confidence more than anything.
Q: Why did you choose to play three sports in high school and why those three in particular?
A: Softball and basketball, I played since fifth grade. I had never played soccer. My two best friends were incredible soccer players. They both ended up going to Texas A&M. They asked me to play my senior year and I did. I had never played soccer. I had never stepped foot on a soccer field. I had a really good assistant coach who worked with keepers. He worked with me and it ended up being a really cool position for me, because I don’t have any foot skills whatsoever. I had a great team, a sweeper that was really good, so it made me look good.
Q: What influenced your decision to transfer from the University of Oklahoma to Oklahoma Christian?
A: We had a coach move in who brought a point guard that he really bonded with. He would have moved our senior point guard over to two-guard, which was the position I played. I knew he probably was not going to play me, so I went to him and said, “Hey coach, if you are not going to play me my senior year, I would really like to transfer so I can at least play as a senior.” He released me and luckily, I had Coach Findley to take me and embrace me. I cannot say enough about her and the person she is. To take someone for one year and invest all that time and effort into me was incredible. Coming to Oklahoma Christian was kind of like getting to play high school basketball again. It’s a smaller venue. It’s more intimate, and just more family like. I really felt at home.
Q: What enticed you to become a police officer?
A: Honestly, I needed a job. I got lucky. When I got out of the Academy and out of the streets of South Dallas, I realized it fit my personality very well. It is very reactive and you have to read people’s body language. It’s a lot like playing a sport—you never know what you’re going to get. You never know if you’re going to have to jump over a fence or run after someone. It fit me physically very well.
Q: What has been the most rewarding job you have held within the Dallas Police Department?
A: I spent 10 years on our SWAT team and that, by far, has been the most challenging, physically and mentally. Actually, I would say it was above my head physically, but I hung in there. I am the only woman who has adhered to all the men’s standards. I am the proudest of that.
Q: What accomplishment in your life are you the proudest of?
A: I got Summer [my younger sister] when she was five and I was 28. My mom was ill and having a lot of issues, so I took her. You are instantly a parent, which is very challenging. I did all of elementary and I coached Little League softball and basketball. She didn’t really care for any of those, so I put her in competitive swimming. She ended up being a drum major in the band, which she loves. She held great grades and had a great SAT score. She is now a senior at Oklahoma State University. The thing you learn about parenting is: it never stops.