10 facts about USI's 10th Men's Basketball Head Coach Stan Gouard
You may know he helped the Screaming Eagles win a national championship in 1995, or that after being named two-time National Player of the Year he competed professionally in Sweden, Mexico and Columbia. Perhaps you’ve heard about his 12 years of head coaching experience at GLVC rival University of Indianapolis, or his excitement about returning to his alma mater.
But there’s a lot more to learn about USI Men’s Basketball Head Coach Stan Gouard ʼ99.
1. He comes from a big family
As the youngest of eight, Gouard has three brothers and four sisters—and more than 25 nieces and nephews. Growing up in Danville, Illinois, he not only spent time with his siblings, but also his many cousins who lived nearby. “We always picked up a ball, and that kept us out of trouble, whether it was football or basketball. We even owned some boxing gloves,” Gouard says.
His mother and father, Betty and David Gouard, also hailed from large families. David was the second of eight children and Betty the oldest of 13. “I’m sure if you talk to some of the USI followers from back in my playing days, they can probably explain to you how many people from the Gouard family would come down to USI basketball games. We filled that arena up—or at least a section—with just my family.”
2. He had many sports idols, but not all were professional players
As a young basketball player, Gouard was a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers and idolized Julius “Dr. J” Iriving and Moses Malone. Later, he was awed by the dynamic Chicago Bulls’ duo of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. But he also had heroes at home. “My dad, he was my idol because I’d look up to him so much, and all of my brothers, they were idols as well,” Gouard says.
While he was the only child in his immediate family to become a collegiate athlete, several of Gouard’s cousins played college football. “I remember in high school going to watch [my cousin] play, and I just saw how the crowd embraced him after games, and I really looked up to that … I always wanted to be like him.”
3. He still remembers his first dunk
The year was 1987. The place was Danville’s Garfield Park.
“I remember my best friend and I would go out and wait until the older guys got tired [to be able to get on the court]. We would hang around, and in between games we’d try to dunk the basketball, and that’s how it happened.”
So, can Superman still dunk?
“I haven’t tried in five years,” Gouard says. “Maybe I can, but it’s just not worth the risk of getting hurt. I don’t want to embarrass myself.”
4. He knew USI was the right choice right away
After spending two years at John A. Logan College in Carterville, Illinois, Gouard was ready to play on a bigger stage and scheduled visits to three universities. “USI was my very first visit. I stepped foot on the campus and called the other coaches and said this felt right,” he says. “That hasn’t changed … it just feels like home.”
5. A trip to campus ended badly for his car—and a cow
The infamous cow story. “Everybody knows this,” Gouard says.
But, for those who may need a refresher…
Having signed his National Letter of Intent (NLI) to play for USI, Gouard, his future wife and a few friends drove over from Illinois to watch the Screaming Eagles play on a Saturday night. About an hour from campus, their plans changed. “I came up on a hill, and I hit a cow,” Gouard recalls. “Not a deer. I hit a cow. There was a cow crossing the highway, a two-lane road, and I totaled my vehicle.”
No one was hurt, and with the help of a stranger and a state trooper, word of the accident reached the PAC. Rick Herdes, then an assistant coach, left the game and rescued the group. “We missed the game, but we drove over and spent the weekend in Evansville,” Gouard says.
6. The nickname “Superman” was born of necessity
When Gouard joined the Screaming Eagles in 1993, PAC public address announcer Todd Goens entertained fans by calling out players’ nicknames when they made big plays. “Chad Gilbert was The Big Smooth, Scott Taylor was Jumpin’ Scott Taylor,” Gouard explains. “Everybody had a nickname, and I didn’t have one.”
Before every game, Gouard watched Michael Jordan’s “Come Fly with Me” video to get in the zone. “One of the highlights says, ‘Superman is back in the building,’” he says. “I walked in from watching that video and said, ‘I have it’ … and that’s how the name took off.”
7. A bad decision changed his life
Like anyone else, Gouard has made mistakes—none more memorable than his decision to skip class one day at USI. “The coaches called my mom and dad and told on me,” he says.
By the time he made it to the parking lot, his dad had already driven three-and-a-half hours to pick up the black Buick Skylark he had on campus.
“I remember walking back to my apartment and calling my dad and saying, ‘Hey, my car was stolen.’ And he said, ‘No, your car is right here in the driveway. Until you get your stuff together, you’re not going to get your car back.’ And that moment changed my life,” he says.
8. His coach helped him woo his wife
During his official visit to John A. Logan College, Gouard saw a young woman across the room and knew. “I said, that’s going to be my wife.”
After making an admittedly bad first impression, he pursued his crush for a year before she talked to him. A knee injury that landed him on crutches helped lead to his second chance.
“My coach, his wife worked in the President’s Office, and she [my crush] was a student worker,” he says, recalling his opening. He told his coach, “I need you to have your wife have her carry my books to class every day.”
His plan worked.
Thirteen years later, Gouard proposed to Chasity Kennedy (who also graduated from USI) on Valentine’s Day—with a ring bought in Evansville. “I was on my knees, it felt like for an hour,” he says.
The two wed in a private ceremony on the beach in St. Lucia and have been married 17 years.
9. Free time means family time
As a Division II college basketball coach, Gouard stays busy year-round. But, when he does have extra time, he’s likely spending it with Chasity and their 10-year-old daughter, Kennedy (who bears her mother’s maiden name). “I try every chance I get to do something special with [them]—something as simple as taking a walk or jumping out back on the trampoline,” he says. “I try to get to as many of Kennedy’s [volleyball and basketball] games as possible.”
He’s also a news junkie who loves current events and is looking to improve his golf game. “It’s a work in progress,” he says.
10. You will see him on campus
While Screaming Eagles Arena may be his home base, Gouard isn’t shy about crossing University Boulevard. “I will be very visible on campus,” he says. “I’m going to make it a point, as the head coach, to come over and do coffee on campus and have lunch on campus as least two or three times a week. I just want to make sure that I interact with the student body because I think that’s very important in generating fan support.”