Longtime collegiate assistant coach Ronald Hughey was formally introduced as the head women's basketball coach at the University of Houston by Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades on April 22, 2014 during a press conference inside the Carl Lewis Auditorium. Hughey, a veteran of six NCAA Tournaments as an assistant, is the seventh head coach in the program's 39-year history."As we went through this coaching search, we spoke with many different people who knew Coach Hughey well, on and off the court. His energy, excitement and commitment to his student-athletes were apparent from our first meeting and from many discussions with those who have worked with him. He has prepared himself well for this opportunity working for some proven head coaches. He is very well versed in the x's and o's, player development and is a proven recruiter and relationship builder. He is one of the rising stars in this industry and we're excited to have him join our UH Athletics family," Rhoades said.
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.
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.
"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.
Hughey played a primary role in Rutgers' recruiting efforts during his time in New Jersey and led the Scarlet Knights to one of their top recruiting classes in several seasons.
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.
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 has two daughters, Sanabarabara and Rhonda.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT RONALD HUGHEY
"The University of Houston has made an excellent choice by hiring Ron Hughey as its new women's basketball coach. Coach Hughey will bring an expertise and energy level to the program that will excite fans and put Houston Women's Basketball back on the map. Having watched him coach up close, I know his players will improve immensely and love learning from him. I look forward to following Houston Basketball in the years to come."
- Mike Thibault
current head coach of the WNBA's Washington Mystics, three-time WNBA Coach of the Year, assistant coach for 2006 United States Women's National team
"The University of Houston is very fortunate to welcome Ron Hughey as its new women's basketball coach. He has a passion for coaching, a great temperament for relationships and unmatched work ethic. He has a wealth of experience gleaned from his 10 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level. I look for great things from the Cougars for years to come."
- Sue Semrau
Florida State head coach
"From the time I first met Ronald he had expressed his desire to lead a program and impact the lives of student-athletes. I join in his excitement to fulfill his dream."
- Joi Williams
UCF head coach
"My teammates and I are thrilled for Coach Hughey and his new players at Houston. He has meant a lot to me as my position coach for the last two seasons at Florida State. He brings energy and has a great way of relating to his players."
- Natasha Howard
Senior forward, Florida State (Fifth pick in 2014 WNBA Draft - Indiana Fever)
"Ron brings enthusiasm, energy and a vision to the University of Houston women's basketball program. He is a relationship builder, which is necessary in coaching your own players and recruiting players of the future."
current head coach of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, 2012 WNBA Coach of the Year
"I'm so excited for Ron and the University of Houston. I believe this is a perfect fit for both Ron and the program. Ron has an incredible work ethic, and his passion and love for the game are second to none. He is committed to an up-tempo, aggressive style of basketball that players and fans will love. I have no doubt he will have an immediate impact on the Houston Cougars program."
current assistant coach for the WNBA'S Los Angeles Sparks, former head coach at Texas (2007-12)