New UCA basketball coach knows Eagles

ASHEBORO – Preston Steele has had connections to Uwharrie Charter Academy boys’ basketball players and those are becoming stronger.

Steele is the team’s new coach.

He took the position after it came open a few weeks ago.

“I think it was the need that they had,” Steele said. “Things played out fast. I want to make sure the boys are invested in the way they should be.”

Brad Monroe was the coach for eight seasons, according to an online listing. He also had been athletics director for some of that time at the school.

Steele had been coach of the UCA middle school boys’ basketball team when that program began in 2015. He was the coach for the first few years.

He also had coached boys’ soccer at the middle school. He directed siblings of some of the current UCA basketball players.

“I have a relationship with about half the guys,” he said. “They know me through soccer or their siblings.”

Steele also officiated middle school basketball, so he knows players from that capacity as well.

The Eagles had a 7-19 record last season. They finished fifth in the seven-team Piedmont Athletic Conference.

In 2021-22, UCA won the PAC Tournament and finished with a 19-7 record for the second-biggest win total under Monroe.

Even before the coaching change, it figured to be a season of transition. Standout center Ashton Troutman, who tallied more than 1,000 career points, has graduated.

“You lose a player of that caliber, you have to figure out where to get offense,” Steele said.

This will be a chance to re-work the systems used, the new coach said.

UCA will open the season Nov. 9 at Bethany Community.

Steele, 43, is a 1998 graduate of Rockingham County, where he played soccer, baseball and golf before going to Guilford Tech.

He has roles outside of UCA, where his two sons attend. He works for Global Industrial Supply and he also is a student pastor at Vintage Church in Randleman.

By Bob Sutton