Introducing Coach U


Allison Jenks '25, Sports Editor

New to Austin Prep; Coach Stroud. With an impressive coaching record within the AAU, this is her first season as head coach. To give some background on this coach, let’s take a look into her impressive past. 

Ushearnda Stroud (nicknamed Coach U) is originally from Georgia. She received an athletic scholarship to the University of Tennessee and spent her freshman year there before transferring to Sacred Heart. During her second year playing collegiate basketball, she was doing well. Very well. Until a car accident changed all of it.

Coach U and a friend had been walking together when a dog got loose from its owner and began to chase the girls into oncoming traffic. Suddenly, her world was altered. Coach U, alongside her friend, was sent flying through the air, landing at least 50 feet away from where the car had originally made an impact. Luckily, the surgeons were able to save the limbs that had been damaged, but it was extensive. Her tibia was shattered in three places from the knee down, alongside her left rotator cuff was torn. The recovery was very long and difficult, to say the least. After a long time out of the game, Coach U returned and played professionally in Germany.

She has coached for many teams over the years, achieving the coach of the year award for Class B NEPSAC sports, as well as past athletes winning Gatorade player of the year award as well. Her drive and determination on and off the court shine through onto her coaching ability and her athletes, and now as a part of the Austin Prep community.

 Coach U is hard at work to not only make the team better but the school as a whole. She works to maintain the very highest Unitas standard by organizing after-school programs. For a fresh perspective on how she coaches, I interviewed some of her athletes. My first question was simple. I wanted to know how her impressive titles reflect her coaching ability, and what they thought of her so far.  To this, the anonymous athlete from Austin Prep’s girl’s varsity basketball team said, “She pushes you to your greatest abilities, and doesn’t let you slip up. She expects the very best.” As we have most definitely seen from her past endeavors! Another athlete interview confirmed the respect her athletes have for her when asked a similar question. “She is very honest on the court and always pushes up to do our best and knows we can always do better no matter what.” Already, Coach U has made her impression on the school and the basketball program. This was recently reflected when the girl’s basketball team was invited to participate in the Andrew James Lawson Foundation invitational at none other than the famous TD Garden! Even though the girls didn’t come out with a win, the experience was fantastic and a great community-building experience for many members of the Austin Prep community.  

As the basketball team continues to grow with Coach U, I am excited to report new developments with the team and Austin’s other winter sports. Stay tuned!