Stuart Hart Named New Athletic Performance Coach for UCLA Women’s Basketball
LOS ANGELES – The UCLA Women's Basketball program has announced the hiring of Stuart Hart to the position of Athletic Performance Coach. Hart is tasked with directing the program's strength and conditioning protocols on and off the court.
"I'm excited to be a part of the UCLA Bruins family," said Hart. "Obviously, it's a nationally-recognized basketball powerhouse. There's a history of success, both on the men's and women's side, and I'm just happy to be a part of that."
Hart arrives in Westwood with a wealth of experience in coaching and an impressive background of strength and conditioning acumen. He began his collegiate coaching career in 2008 at his alma mater, Saint Leo University, where he served as Assistant Coach and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the women's basketball program. Hart then transitioned to the University of South Florida, where he supervised the strength and conditioning protocols for the women's basketball program from 2014-16 and the men's basketball program from 2016-17.
Since 2017, Hart has served as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Nebraska Women's Basketball, where he was responsible for the implementation and oversight of the program's high-performance model, which included athletic training, sports psychology, nutrition, and strength and conditioning. He also directed the sports science staff for the team.
"I spent the last 14 years basically working on being the best basketball-specific strength and conditioning coach," Hart said. "Having the opportunity to speak to Coach Close and following her career and knowing what she was trying to do, I felt like I could bring something to the table."
The Michael Price UCLA Women's Head Basketball Coach Cori Close is confident Hart is prepared to take immediate charge of the team's strength training regimen.
"I'm really excited about the leadership, the example, the vision, and the discipline that Stuart has for our women and where he wants to take our program," said Close. "I think he is exactly the right person for the job and we will be seeing a major step into the nation's elite in the area of performance training."
Close made clear her belief that Hart is equipped to direct the program's strength training at an elite level.
"I talked to coaches he has worked with around the country," Close remarked. "I asked, 'Can he take us to a national championship level?'. Every one of them without hesitation said, 'Yes.'. That combined with his genuine personality and willingness to buy into our vision – it became a no-brainer."
Hart shares Close's desire to establish championship-level habits in the weight room and the women's basketball program's expectation to win at an elite level.
"We've got the talent and a history of success making the NCAA Tournament," said Hart. "I think we have all the pieces. I think what I bring to the table is a work ethic, a level of discipline, and a very structured program geared toward female athletes and, more specifically, female basketball players that I think will help them understand where they can take their talents if they put in the work."
Passing the Baton
Hart takes over for David Wood, who recently left the program after serving as the team's Strength and Conditioning coach since 2013. Coach Close made clear her appreciation for Wood's dedication to the team and his development of the program's strength training protocols over the last eight seasons.
"I could not be any more thankful for the leadership and guidance that Dave Wood has provided our program," said Close. "He has us at a level of sustained excellence that we would never have achieved without him."