Building a career around sports can be a lifelong dream that few turn into a reality. For SHC Hall of Famer, Frozena Jerro ’88, her career as a coach has taken her across the country and world for the sport she loves.

What do you remember most about your time as a student at SHC?

I had a sense of pride being a part of SHC’s first graduating class and in forming Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep.

I have very fond memories of playing basketball and being with my friends. We didn’t win all the time, but playing against Mercy and St. Rose and other schools was really inspiring as a student-athlete.

I was also part of student-government and served as the junior class vice president.


My biggest memory was taking math with Mrs. (Castagnola) Shapiro. It was one of my favorite classes. She had a great personality and was really able to connect with the students. Math isn’t always the easiest subject, but our class was engaged. I also remember Sister Grace, DC, and Brother Anthony, FSC, who served as the athletic director at the time. He helped me stay at school and really connected with me. Once I graduated, I was fortunate enough to attend St. Mary’s College and play basketball. There was another alum a year ahead of me, Diannah (Crawford) Cox ’87 who helped my transition to St. Mary’s College. She was on the basketball team and it was nice to see a familiar face.

I remember my sophomore year how excited I was to go to Hawaii for a tournament. We traveled up and down the West Coast in the WCC. It was always great coming home and playing our rival USF, only a few blocks from where I grew up.

I transferred to Arizona State after my sophomore year and the climate and school were both dramatically different. It was a much bigger school, and as someone from San Francisco, the desert heat was quite a shock in the summer months.

After I graduated, the WNBA was just getting started and my coach had arranged for the team in Phoenix to give me a tryout. However, I had also interviewed for a coaching job at the same time. I knew long-term that coaching made more sense so I decided against trying out for the WNBA.

2014-15 UIC Women’s Basketball Team 2014-15 UIC Women’s Basketball Team

In 1997, I became the head women’s basketball coach at California State Northridge. I was very young and I had to learn how to manage a team and wear a lot of different hats. The basketball side was easier because it came naturally to me.

Managing personalities was more of a challenge and through trial and error I became more understanding of team dynamics and how to run a program.

Describe the recruiting process for your program.

The best way to sell your program is to be who you are. When I enter a recruit’s home I try to put myself in their shoes and be honest. People appreciate honesty and that you are trying to connect.

We have a few international student-athletes at the school I coach at now, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and one of our players is from France. I went through all the states explaining where I’ve been to and I realized that I had been to all states except seven. I have been fortunate enough to go overseas to recruit, which has been a great experience.

Coaching involves a lot of camaraderie and the relationship building is the highlight of my job.

What is the hardest part of your schedule?

The month of July is a big recruiting month. We used to be on the road from July 6-31. That used to wear on you. During the season some long hours studying film and going over the wins and losses does take a certain mentality. That is definitely is a grind.

My biggest accomplishment is just having the opportunity to impact a young person’s life.

I learned good values and habits because of Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, and I am proud to be an alumna, and I’m proud to love what I do for a living.

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