Sharon Couch The First One Through: an Olympian's perspective on pursuing the dream and leaving a legacy
See more from TEDxUTK 2020 » Explore all talks »
Filmed on 13 February 2020 as part of TEDxUTK 2020 Opening the Door at the Ken and Blaire Mossman Auditorium in Knoxville, TN.

Sharon Couch
Presented at our event on 13 February 2020. Video coming soon.

Sharon Couch is a two-time U.S. Olympian and one of the most decorated female student-athletes in the history of the University of North Carolina, recently receiving the Tarheel Trailblazer Award. After graduating with a degree in Speech Communications, she competed professionally for 11 years all over the world, making 5 World Championship Teams.

Sharon spent most of her post-competitive years employed in various corporate pursuits that utilized her high-energy personality and competitive spirit. Couch has worked in Corporate America for companies such as Kraft General Foods, Franklin Covey, and Quest Communications. Couch served as the national director of retail account training for the Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) brand.

Feeling the need to make her Olympic experiences count and create a legacy, Couch began her career here at the University of Tennessee in 2010. Couch served as an assistant track & field coach for the Track TEAM for women's sprints and hurdles at Rocky Top. During her tenure, she produced SEC Champions and All-Americans for the Lady Vols sprint/hurdle crew. In 2014, Couch decided to follow her goal of furthering her education and began a graduate program in Sport Psychology while working as a graduate teaching assistant for the Student Success Center on campus. She graduated in 2016 with her Master’s of Science.

After achieving her Master’s, Sharon Couch was hired as an Academic Advisor for the College of Education Human Health and Sciences. Her specialty was working with Kinesiology and Sport Management students.

Sharon has also begun her next Olympic climb with the continued pursuit of a PhD in the area of Sport Psychology. Her research interest is Cultural Sport Psychology interventions to support people of color as they pursue social justice, advocacy, and activism in their respective performance areas.

Two years ago, Couch was promoted to Student Life and Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the Herbert College of Agriculture at UTK. She serves more than 1400 students and numerous professional staff, and faculty across two campus entities. She has also served as a Chairperson for the Chancellor’s Commission for Blacks for UTK. Finally, her greatest joy and most notable achievement is being a mother to LoRen and Ryan.