Shorter University stayed close to home when choosing its next coach to lead its women’s basketball team.

Shorter announced Monday the hiring of former Rome High girls basketball coach Jared Hughes to take lead of the Lady Hawks’ program, which finished 1-26 this past season.

Hughes will try to turn the Lady Hawks’ program around which has had three head coaches in as many years, and has won only 16 games over the past three seasons.

“We are delighted to welcome Jared Hughes as part of the Shorter family,” Shorter President Don Dowless said. “We look forward to seeing the impact his Christ-centered leadership will have on our women’s basketball program and the young women he coaches.”

Hughes, a native of Rome, served from 2015-2017 as head girls’ basketball coach at Rome leading the team to the Class 5A state playoffs in his first year with the Lady Wolves. That season, he led the team to 18 wins including key victories over top-10 teams Carrollton, Sequoyah and Calhoun.

He was named the Northwest Georgia Tip-off Club Coach of the Month in December of 2016, and his team set a school record of 100 points in a single game. Hughes also served as an assistant coach on the girls’ team from 2011 to 2015 under Kevin Strickland.

“Coach Hughes brings a deep knowledge of the game of basketball paired with a love for the Rome community and this region,” Shorter Director of Athletics Tony Lundy said. “His teams have performed well, and he believes in using the sport of basketball to teach larger life lessons. We know he will make great contributions as part of Shorter Athletics.”

Hughes began his work in Rome’s sports community in 2009 when he became Youth Sports Director at the Rome-Floyd YMCA. He hired, trained, and supervised staff members in all youth sports programs and co-founded the Teen Leadership Basketball League, a league focusing on teaching leadership and responsibility through the game of basketball.

Hughes has taught health and physical education and special education in pre-K through 6 grade at West End Elementary. He was the Rome City Schools Teacher of the Year nominee in 2016, and while a head coach at Rome Middle School, his teams compiled a 24-1 record.

He previously taught high school health and physical education at Woodstock High School, where he also served as the head girls’ basketball coach before returning to Rome.

Since 2018, he has served as an assistant coach for the Berry College women’s basketball team, which compiled both school and SAA conference record of nine consecutive conference wins.