Audra Cohen Named OU Women’s Tennis Coach
NORMAN – Audra Cohen has been named the head women’s tennis coach at the University of Oklahoma, OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione announced on Thursday. Cohen spent the previous five seasons as head coach at North Florida where she led the program to four NCAA Tournament appearances while winning four Atlantic Sun tournament titles.
“We’re genuinely excited to welcome Audra Cohen as our head coach for women’s tennis and new member of our Sooner Family,” Castiglione said. “Audra is one of the premier rising coaches in the country. She has an impressive record for winning championships and developing successful, high-caliber teams during her time at North Florida. Inspired by her own journey as an NCAA national champion and professional tennis player, Audra is committed to providing our student-athletes with the very best experience possible in all phases of their career growth. We look forward to working with her as her leadership characteristics, passion and energy will positively impact the future of our program.”
“I am so excited to take on this great opportunity that Joe Castiglione, (senior associate athletics director) Michael Alford and the administration at the University of Oklahoma have given me,” Cohen said. “I can’t wait to begin working with the current team and develop their talents further. I’m the type of person that likes to hit the ground running. I look forward to getting started to build a special program at OU that will compete nationally and continue OU’s standard of excellence that it has established across all sports.”
Cohen, a three-time Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year, led North Florida to a 77-27 overall record and a .740 winning percentage during her five seasons with the Ospreys. Cohen’s teams dominated the league during her tenure at UNF, posting a 36-1 mark against conference foes. She coached three different players to Atlantic Sun Player of the Year honors while Ospreys earned 29 all-conference selections.
“I’d like to thank everyone at the University of North Florida, especially athletics director Lee Moon and his administration for allowing me to build a program from the ground up,” Cohen stated. “I’m incredibly thankful for the experience and the success we had at North Florida. I would not have this great opportunity without their support.”
In 2016, Cohen guided North Florida to a 13-7 record as the Ospreys posted their second straight undefeated conference slate and made their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in five years under her direction. She also coached Noemi Hemmerich to the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Award while five more Ospreys collected all-conference honors last season.
North Florida posted a program-best 17 wins under Cohen’s direction in 2015 as seven players collected postseason All-Atlantic Sun honors en route to an NCAA Tournament berth. In 2014, North Florida climbed to as high as No. 63 in the ITA national rankings while the Ospreys posted a perfect 8-0 mark in league play.
In her first season, Cohen helped UNF to both the 2012 Atlantic Sun regular season and tournament championships to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. The Ospreys finished 9-0 in Atlantic Sun play with six players taking home all-conference honors. She followed up in her second year at North Florida with a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013, leading UNF to a No. 74 ranking by the ITA.
Cohen was also one of four coaches named to lead the USTA’s Men’s and Women’s Collegiate Teams, an elite training program for the top American collegiate tennis players in 2011. The program is designed to provide collegiate players with valuable exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit.
Prior to being named head coach at North Florida in 2011, Cohen served a two-year stint as an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin starting in 2009.
A native of Plantation, Fla., Cohen began her collegiate career at Northwestern where she earned All-America honors in singles and doubles, was named Big Ten’s Player of the Year as a freshman and the ITA’s Rookie of the Year, while advancing to the NCAA Singles championship final. She graduated in 2009 from Miami with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Cohen transferred to Miami where she won the 2007 NCAA Women’s Individual Singles Championship in 2007. She finished her collegiate career at Miami with five All-America selections as a Hurricane while winning ITA National Player of the Year honors twice as well as the Honda Sports Award for women’s tennis in 2007. Cohen was a two-time ACC Player with the Hurricanes and posted a 76-4 record in singles.
Cohen captained the 2007 Pan-American Olympic Team, played professionally on the WTA Tour and competed in the US Open Main Draw in both singles and doubles, while winning one USTA Pro Circuit title in 2006.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Michigan Head Coach Ronni Bernstein:
“Audra’s work ethic and knowledge will bring a lot to the program at OU. It’s exciting for her and for Oklahoma as well. She’s played at a very high level and she understands what kids are going through as players and student-athletes. She has a lot of passion and energy and that is what you will see her instill in the program.”
North Florida Athletics Director Lee Moon:
“I’ve hired a lot of coaches during my career as athletics director, and she ranks as one of the best hires I’ve ever made. When I talked to Joe Castiglione about Audra, I told him she is the Billy Donovan of women’s tennis. I hired both of them as young coaches and they both made an incredible impact on their programs. When I interviewed Audra five years ago I saw great qualities. She’s a great competitor, teacher and has a sense of urgency in preparing to win. Her ultimate goal is to develop players and win championships, but she does it in a way to where her players develop both on and off the court. She takes great pride in her student-athletes, especially in the classroom, and we’re thankful for the impact she made on our program at North Florida.”
Northwestern Head Coach Claire Pollard:
“Audra Cohen is going to make an immediate impact in the Big 12. She’s an innovative thinker, a hard worker and will be a terrific coach at OU, both on and off the court. She’s a charismatic leader to the core and has a deep passion for women’s tennis. I’m excited for her to get this opportunity.”
Miami Head Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews:
“Audra has a great tennis mind. She will undoubtedly be a great leader for Oklahoma women's tennis.”