New head coach strives for greatness
He’s the new architect of the Cougars — the man with the huge task of repairing a young team some would call broken. His name is Ronald Hughey.
The honeymoon months are filled with promise for a first-time head coach, but the Cougars struggled last season, as they finished 6-25.
Hughey was tasked with rebuilding the program with a team that was ninth in scoring offense, eighth in scoring defense and only won one conference game.
“He is one of the rising stars in this industry, and we’re excited to have him join our University of Houston Athletics family,” Athletics Director Mack Rhoades said when Hughey was introduced.
Hughey comes to UH having been on six consecutive NCAA tournament coaching staffs at Florida State, UCF, Rutgers and Texas. He said he brings the keys to success that he learned with his past teams to Houston.
“First and foremost is accountability and sacrifice,” Hughey said. “The big-time programs have players that trust, protect and empower each other; that is what will happen here in time.”
With a conference that includes tough opponents like Connecticut, UH has the opportunity to better itself by facing the best. But the conference is changing as Louisville, which finished in the Elite Eight last season, is leaving to the ACC and Rutgers moves to the Big Ten.
Ten returning players will be joined this season by freshman guard Mariah Mitchell, freshman guard Moesha Kinard, freshman forward Dejah Joshua and junior forward Sandra Davis.
After the rough season, Hughey said he is looking for the entire team to contribute.
“We’re going to be all-in in terms of playing hard, trusting each other and having accountability that flows throughout the program,” Hughey said.
“It takes a team to win consistently. We need to move forward in every aspect of the game. We are excited about that challenge. The fans can expect us to play hard, play together and have fun.”
With the Cougars’ new motto of chasing greatness, Hughey said he plans on helping the team on and off the court.
“Chasing greatness means looking in the mirror when you wake up in the morning and say ‘I matter, I believe in myself, and I will be the best that I can be in anything I do,’” Hughey said.
“Walking to class, free time with friends, studying, cleaning my room, anything you can think of that goes into what we consider ‘winning the day’ is chasing greatness.”