Now in her third year at Oklahoma, Audra Cohen has lifted the OU women’s tennis program to new heights.
Cohen was named the head coach by OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione on June 30, 2016. In her first year at the helm for the Sooners, Cohen led the team to a 14-8 overall record, surpassing the previous year’s mark of eight wins prior to opening conference play. Cohen coached Lily Miyazaki to All-Big 12 Singles First Team honors, as well as the program’s first NCAA Singles Championships berth since 2004.Under Cohen’s guidance, Miyazaki won the 2016 ITA Central Region singles title and earned a career-high ITA singles ranking of No. 10.
During the 2017-18 year, Cohen guided the Sooners to a 15-12 record, their most wins since 2015. Miyazaki once again qualified for the NCAA Singles Championships, becoming just the second Sooner to qualify for the tournament in multiple seasons, and finished her career with 96 singles wins, tying her for fourth in program history.
Cohen’s squads have also posted perfect Academic Progress Rate scores of 1,000 in her two seasons with the Sooners, and players have gone on to win a number of awards for their work in the classroom, including Academic All-Big 12 honors and ITA All-Academic Team nods. In 2018, Miyazaki brought home the NCAA Elite 90 Award, the award given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA at each of the NCAA’s 90 finals sites; Miyazaki is the third Sooner in school history to earn the honor.
Prior to her arrival at OU, Cohen spent five seasons as the head coach at North Florida where she led the program to four NCAA Tournament appearances while winning four Atlantic Sun tournament titles.
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.
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.
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. In 2017, Cohen was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.
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:
“We’re genuinely excited to welcome Audra Cohen as our head coach for women’s tennis and new member of our Sooner Family. 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.” – Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione
“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.” – Michigan head coach Ronni Bernstein
“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.” – North Florida athletics director Lee Moon
“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.” - Northwestern head coach Claire Pollard
“Audra has a great tennis mind. She will undoubtedly be a great leader for Oklahoma women's tennis.” – Miami head coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews