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 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 resciliancy 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 Cincinnatti 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.
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.
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.
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)