Maura McHugh, who has over 25 years of coaching experience at both the collegiate and professional levels, was named the sixth head coach in program history in April of 2005.
In her first year at the helm of the Seawolves, McHugh guided sophomores Jessica Smith and Mykeema Ford to America East second team honors, while freshman Dana Ferraro earned All-Rookie Team accolades. Ford went on to capture both the America East scoring and assists titles with 17.5 ppg and 5.0 apg, while Smith was tops in the league with a .545 field goal percentage.
McHugh arrived at Stony Brook in 2003-04 after spending five seasons with the Sacramento Monarchs of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) as an assistant coach from 1999-01 and head coach from 2001-03. Her best season at the helm of the Monarchs came in 2001 when she took over head coaching duties after a 6-6 start, guiding the team to a 17-8 mark the rest of the way, including the franchise's first appearance in the Western Conference Finals. During her tenure with the Monarchs, she coached a pair of Olympians in Yolanda Griffith (2000 and 2004) and Ruthie Bolton (2000) and All-WNBA selections in Griffith and Ticha Penicheiro.
Before her arrival at Sacramento, McHugh was the head coach for the first-year franchise Long Beach StingRays of the American Basketball League (ABL) for the 1997-98 campaign. That season, she led the team to a 32-22 overall mark and to within one game of the ABL title, becoming the first coach in professional sports history to lead an expansion team to the playoff finals in its first year of competition. After the StingRays franchise folded, McHugh moved on to the role of Director of Player Personnel for the ABL in 1998.
McHugh began her coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Penn State University from 1975-77 before she was promoted to assistant coach for the next two seasons, becoming the first full-time women's basketball assistant coach in school history.
After her stint at Penn State, McHugh broke into the head coaching ranks at the University of Oklahoma, leading the Sooners to 142-70 (.670) mark during her seven seasons from 1980-87. At Oklahoma, she turned a program that never posted consecutive winning seasons into one that posted four 20-plus win seasons, including in each of her final three years. McHugh, who led the Sooners to six postseason appearances, was named the Big Eight and Converse Regional Coach of the Year in 1986 after guiding her team to the Big Eight Championship and the NCAA Sweet 16.
McHugh then moved on to coach at Arizona State University from 1987-93, where she transformed a sub-.500 team into a Pac-10 contender while cracking the nation's top 20 during her final two seasons and earning an NCAA Tournament birth. While at ASU, McHugh coached Ryneldi Becenti, the first two-time All-Pac-10 selection in school history, and Fran Ciak, a two-time Academic All-America selection.
A native of Worcester, Mass., McHugh was a four-year starter at Old Dominion University. She was one of the first women's basketball players in the nation to receive a scholarship, including the first in school history. McHugh graduated magna cum laude with a degree in health and physical education, finishing at the top of her class in the College of Health and Physical Education. She then moved on to Penn State, where she earned her master's degree in physical education in 1978.
McHugh is married to Gregory Olson and resides in Oldfield, N.Y.