July 28th, 2022 | Josh Adelman
Soldiers to Sidelines is proud to honor Coach Uriah Hunter as the July 2022 Coach of the Month. Uriah is an active duty Chief Warrant Officer Three with 19 years of service. He is currently stationed at Fort Hood, TX. Coach Hunter has coached men’s and women’s basketball for three years as a head basketball coach. He has achieved great success due to his incredible passion and dedication to serving his athletes and improving his craft. All of his efforts led his team to a Military Basketball National Championship.
Serving others is embedded in Coach Hunter’s DNA. His entire life has focused on serving a greater purpose. He loves to quote the famous John Wooden, “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” One day in 2019, while stationed in South Korea, Uriah’s mentor in the US Army, MAJ Lemija Allen, encouraged him to get into coaching. She recognized his deliberate and soothing demeanor in his leadership roles in the Army. Her acknowledgment and encouragement awakened a passion for coaching basketball dormant within him.
Uriah says, “I actually knew I wanted to be a coach when I was in high school. In 2001 I was a sophomore at John Marshall in Chicago, IL. At that time, our women’s teams were always better than the men’s. In fact, our JV team would often scrimmage the varsity women, and we could never beat them. My inspiration came from the legendary Coach Dorthy Gaters. Everything about her was right from how she demanded the respect of the players and every student in the school.”
Although Uriah only began coaching in 2019, his 16 years of prior military service prepared him to have rapid success. It taught him the sacrifice and work ethic required to win. He says, “Being in the military for 19 years; you spend a lot of time away from your immediate family. Coaching is no different than work, you have a multitude of personalities you have to work with, and no one person is the same.”
When Coach Hunter first started coaching, he was uncertain if he could have the impact that he envisioned. But he immediately established a coaching relationship with one of his first players that still makes him proud. “Anna Beamesderfer was the first player I personally trained. Looking back, I was terrified, but she trusted me. Her drive and dedication to the game pushed me to truly develop as a coach and love the game.” At the time, Anna was a high school student, and now she is committed to play for Howard Payne University.
Its moments like these that continue to fuel Uriah’s desire to be the best coach he can be. He tells us of another situation that holds a special place in his heart about a high school basketball player named Adriana Garcia. “She was a high school student attending an AAU event where she tore her ACL and MCL in a game. She is currently rehabbing but will be the first person in her family to graduate high school and attend college. Watching her fight thru so many distractions in life and achieve her goals was inspiring.”
Coach Hunter’s dedication to helping young athletes like Adriana and Anna achieve these milestones is why Soldiers to Sidelines awards Uriah the Coach of the Month honor. He attends STS seminars, is actively engaged in the STS Membership Development Program, and he encourages his peers to commit to a lifetime of coaching mastery. Uriah Hunter represents the model Soldier Coach and will continue to have a positive ripple effect in his community for years to come.