Head Coach Ronald Hughey was introduced as the seventh head coach in Houston Cougar Women's Basketball history on April 22, 2014.
The 2019-20 Season The Cougars battled through adversity throughout the season, anchored by senior leadership from Dorian Branch. Under the tutelage of Hughey, Branch became the 26th member of the 1,000-point club at Houston after earning Preseason Second Team All-Conference accolades. With a schedule packed with ranked opponents and holiday tournaments in both Canada and New York the Cougars developed under Hughey and his staff as they reloaded for the 2020-21 season.
The 2018-19 season In his fifth season at Houston, Hughey’s squad exhibited its gritty, in-your-face style of defense that is perfectly paired with its fast-paced offense.
Under the tutelage of Hughey and his staff, the Houston made its second straight postseason appearance and secured a fourth-place finish in the American standings, its highest since joining the league.
Three of the members of his first signing class surpassed the 1,000 career points, mark as Serithia Hawkins surpassed 900 rebounds as well to become one of the most prolific forwards in Cougar history.
Houston ushered in a new era, playing a large portion of its season in the newly built Fertitta Center, winning six contest in the $60 million arena.
Houston standout Dorian Branch took on a larger role in the offense and concluded the regular-season with second-team All-American Athletic Conference honors.
THE 2017-18 SEASON Hughey's fourth season in 2017-18 was a banner year for the Cougars that saw the squad make the postseason for the first time since 2010-11 with a berth in the Women's NIT. Under Hughey, Houston won 20 games for the 12th time in program history and finished fifth in the American Athletic Conference standings, the highest finish for the squad since joining the league.
The Cougars matched a program record with 11 non-conference wins during the first half of the 2017-18 season, and eventually received three votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll, the most since Houston was ranked in the top-25 poll in 2010-11. The Cougars also reached a milestone for the second-consecutive season, when they broke the program record for 3-pointers made as a team with 247.
The 2017-18 had a certain resiliency instilled among the program. Hughey's Cougars completed nine second-half comebacks, when trailing by eight or more points, earning the affectionate nickname among fans as the #CardiacCoogs.
THE 2016-17 SEASON Hughey's third season at the helm of the Cougars was the 2016-17 campaign, where the Cougars took big strides toward becoming the powerhouse program of old. Hughey helped the Cougars double their win total, picking up 12 wins, including season-series sweeps of American Athletic Conference foes Tulsa and East Carolina. Hughey capped the season with an upset of the No. 7 seed Cincinnati in the American Championship First Round to register his first win in the postseason tournament.
Hughey's freshman class for the 2016-17 season proved to be one of the best in school history. Jasmyne Harris and Angela Harris each landed on The American Athletic Conference All-Freshman team, marking Hughey's second and third selections to the squad, while Harris became just Houston's fifth freshman to score 350 points and pull down 150 rebounds in their rookie campaign.
THE 2015-16 SEASON Hughey's second season leading the Cougars came in 2015-16 as he continued to build towards the future success of the program. Houston picked up wins over SMU and Rice for the second consecutive year while also collecting big wins against UCF and in-state rivals Incarnate Word and Texas A&M Corpus-Christi. The Cougars finished the 2015-16 season with a 4-2 record against teams from the Lone Star State.
The Cougars saw immediate success from standout freshman Serithia Hawkins as part of Hughey's first recruiting class. Hawkins led the team in points per game and rebounds per game en route to being unanimously voted to the American Athletic Conference All-Freshman team.
THE 2014-15 SEASON Hughey's first season at the helm came in 2014-15, as the first year head coach laid the foundation for future success. The Cougars knocked off in-state rivals SMU, UTSA and Rice during the season, which was highlighted by a 2-1 trip through the Athletes in Action Classic in Lubbock.
Individually, returning Cougars set 54 single-season statistical highs under the tutelage of Hughey in 2014-15. Players benefiting most from Hughey's leadership include Jessieka Palmer, who more than doubled her scoring average to lead UH with 9.6 points per game, and Tyler Gilbert, who blocked 63 shots in 2014-15, the fifth-best mark in Houston history. Hughey's mentorship was also evident in the success experienced by point guards Alecia Smith and Bianca Winslow. Smith recorded a positive assist-to-turnover ratio for the first time in 2014-15 and finished 10th in The American with 3.1 assists per game. Winslow, meanwhile, finished second on the team with 59 total assists after combining for 17 helpers in her first two collegiate seasons.PRIOR TO HOUSTON Hughey came to the University of Houston with 10 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience and is widely thought of as one of the basketball coaching profession's rising stars. He helped guide five different schools to the postseason each year from 2007-14, including taking six consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament with four separate programs.
From 2007-14, Hughey's teams never finished below the .500 mark, and he helped haul in three top-15 nationally ranked recruiting classes from 2010-2014 with two separate programs. "First and foremost, I'd like to thank God, because without him none of this would have been possible. I'd also like to thank everyone else who was involved in this selection process for having the confidence in me to take this program back to the top where it belongs. The University of Houston is one of the best schools in the nation and I'm elated to be here and get this thing going," Hughey said. Hughey spent the two seasons prior to taking over at UH as an assistant at Florida State (2012-14), guiding the Seminoles to two consecutive NCAA Second Rounds, while collecting a 44-22 record during his tenure there. Known for his keen ability to evaluate talent and recruit, Hughey helped develop Natasha Howard into WBCA All-American, an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American and a Senior CLASS Second Team All-American at Florida State. Howard was selected as the fifth overall pick by the Indiana Fever in the 2014 WNBA Draft, making herthe highest WNBA Draft selection in FSU history. With Hughey's help, the Seminoles placed a league-best three players on the All-ACC First Team during the 2012-13 campaign, while he helped develop forward Chelsea Davis, who signed a professional contract overseas for the 2013-14 season. On the recruiting circuit, Hughey played a big part in helping FSU sign one of the nation's top classes in 2013, as the group was ranked as the nation's No. 7 class by All-Star Girls Report and No. 11 by ESPNW HoopGurlz. The group included three top-100 players, including McDonald's All-American Kai James. Before coming to Florida State, Hughey spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Texas. While in Austin, he helped the program advance to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments land consecutive top-15 recruiting classes. Hughey lived up to his reputation as being one of the best recruiters in the game, signing the nation's No. 12 class in 2012 and country's 10th best class in 2011. In addition to his stellar recruiting reputation, Hughey has also shown the ability to develop talent in the state of Texas, as he worked extensively with 2012 Big 12 All-Defensive honoree Ashley Gayle, while seven different players earned all-league honors during his two-year stint with the Longhorns. Before heading to the Southwest, Hughey spent the 2009-10 campaign coaching at Rutgers University. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame head coach C. Vivian Stringer, he helped guide the Scarlet Knights to 19 victories and the program's eighth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Previously, Hughey served as the recruiting coordinator at UCF during the 2008-09 season. Under the leadership of current head coach Joi Williams, Hughey helped guide the Knights to one of the most exciting runs in program history, as they were able to win four games in four days to claim the Conference USA Tournament crown and the school's third NCAA Tournament berth. UCF defeated Houston in the quarterfinals of that tournament en route to hoisting the championship trophy. During his stay in Orlando, he enticed prep standout Gevenia Carter to sign with the Knights, marking the UCF program's first-ever Top-100 recruit. A native of Columbia, S.C., Hughey was also an assistant coach as South Carolina during the 2007-08 season, helping guide the Gamecocks to a WNIT Second Round appearance. Hughey earned his first Division I coaching gig at South Carolina State (2004-07), where he spent three seasons as an assistant coach. During his time with the Bulldogs, Hughey helped the 2005-06 team finish with a winning record in MEAC play.
PERSONAL Before hitting the college circuit, Hughey developed several Division I players as an assistant varsity boys coach at W. J. Kennan High School in Columbia, S.C from 2001-04. Hughey also worked as a scholastic coach at C.A. Johnson Preparatory Academy and Alcorn Middle School, both in South Carolina.
Hughey spent three years attending South Carolina State before earning his bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Limestone in 2006. He attended C.A. Preparatory Academy, where he was a three-year basketball letterwinner and claimed the state championship during his senior season. Hughey also lettered in football and cross country. Hughey lives in Houston with his wife Shae M. Young-Hughey and is the father to one son, Hunter and two daughters, Sanabarabara and Rhonda.
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