Cori Hughes had few opportunities growing up in a small, rural town in upstate New York. For her, the prospect of college was nonexistent, and neither was the encouragement.
Now the head women’s basketball coach at Salve Regina University, Hughes will share her experiences and expertise with Chelsea youth in a five-day clinic hosted by Chelsea Community Schools (CCS) July 27-31.
Her message is simple: find what you love and dedicate yourself to it. Hughes first brought this advice to Chelsea in 2005 when she accompanied Boston University’s head coach Kelly Greenberg in a basketball clinic at CCS.
"I asked the kids what they enjoyed the most, and they all unanimously agreed on Cori," explains Bea Cravatta, Director of CCS.
This summer Hughes will celebrate her fifth year working with Chelsea youth.
“I’m always amazed by their excitement, willingness to learn and gratitude,” says Hughes. “The kids are genuinely excited, and I feel respected.”
Hughes discovered early on that she loved basketball. One day, Madison High School Blue Devils varsity basketball coach saw a 12-year-old Hughes playing ball in the park and invited her to try-out for the team.
“It was very unusual to have an eighth grader playing on the high school varsity team,” explains Hughes. “People thought I was crazy wanting to be a player at 5’2.” Hughes’ love for the sport encouraged her to excel.
“I wanted to get out, see the world,” remembers Hughes.
In her high school career she scored over a thousand points and racked up over a thousand assists taking her school to the state finals her senior season. In her time with the Blue Devils she was a three-year team captain, a four-time all-conference selection, a two-year all-state honoree and a league MVP. Hughes earned a basketball scholarship to Boston University, and a captain position her junior year.
Hughes became a coach after graduating in 1992. Working her way up from high school teams, Hughes became the head coach at Daniel Webster College in 2001 and then at Salve Regina University in 2007.
Hughes calls herself a progressive coach. She focuses on the fundamentals and then builds on them.
“It’s like building a house,” explains Hughes, “Everyone wants a penthouse overlooking the ocean. But you first need to build a basement, a foundation and stairs.”
The CCS clinic is tailored to various ability levels and focuses on basic skills as well as the game experience.
The clinic will run Tuesday through Friday 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. starting July 27. Register in advance at the Williams Building (Mon. – Fri. 4-8 p.m. and Sat. 9-4) or online at www.chelseama.gov/ccs. Cost is $40. Payment in cash or money order. For more information, please call (617) 466-5233 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.