Amy Warrick was trying to find the words Wednesday to sum up friend Dee Hughes, longtime coach and educator at Goshen High School, when she came up with what she felt described her best.
“She was always about key words to inspire players and one of those words one time was impact and that is a good word to describe her – impact,” Warrick said of Hughes, who passed away in the early morning hours Wednesday at her home in Troy after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 43.
“She had a tremendous impact not only on me, but on all the players and anybody she taught,” Warrick said. “She was a teacher first and foremost. She was a teacher of the game as she knew better than anyone the skills, but she was also a teacher of life lessons.
“She always took the time to invest in people to try and make them a better person. Her legacy is that she invested in players not only to be better players, but more so to be better people.”
In fact, Warrick, who has been coaching with Hughes for seven years, said Hughes was “happier” when her former players would become teachers or nurses as much as a successful athlete in college.
“She wanted to make people better individuals and that made her happy,” Warrick said.
Hughes was head volleyball and softball coach at Goshen, where she coached and taught for 15 years. She was a coach at Pike Liberal Arts for one year prior to going to Goshen.
“It is a sad day not only for Goshen, but for our school system,” Pike County Superintendent Dr. Mark Bazzell said. “Dee was an excellent employee who did a good job in everything she was involved with at Goshen, specifically with the softball program, which made great strides. It was due to her hard work.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
Hughes guided Goshen’s softball team to its highest heights the last few seasons, helping direct three straight state tournament teams from 2011-13. She helped guide the Eagles to a school record 30 wins (in fastpitch) in 2011, to a 24-17 record in 2012 and to a 25-20-1 record this past season. This past season, the Eagles finished fourth at state.
She was named the Alabama Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year in 2011 and she and Warrick were voted co-coaches of the year in 2012 when Hughes missed part of the season dealing with treatments.
Hughes earned her bachelor degree in science in 1993 and a masters degree in 2007, both from Troy University. She was certified as a physical education teacher in physical education K-12 and taught physical education classes at Goshen.
“An outstanding young lady,” said Goshen head football coach and athletic director Bart Snyder, who knew Hughes since the two had college classes together in college. “She was a hard worker who demanded a lot from her athletes to be their best. She was just a pleasure to work with and a great friend.”
Bazzell said grief counselors and clergy were made available to Goshen students on Wednesday. He said several students checked out early, but that most of the students seemed to “be faring pretty well,” when he visited the school early Wednesday morning.
Goshen has cancelled its volleyball match today at Elba and also dropped out of the Northview Cougar Classic that it was scheduled to compete in this Saturday. The Eagles, who were off to a 9-2 start, will resume play next week.
Visitation has been set for Friday from 3-7 p.m. at Green Hills Funeral Home in Troy. A funeral mass service is set for Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church with funeral services at 2 p.m. at Green Hills, followed by burial services at Green HillsCemetery.
Hughes, whose full name was Deanne Ranee Hughes, is survived by her husband, Mike, along with a son, Grant Michael Hughes, and three daughters, Haley Ranee Hughes, Holly Nicole Hughes and Hanna Marie Hughes, all of Troy. She is also survived by three brothers, Robert Scott of Jacksonville, Fla., Rich Scott of Troy, Ron Scott of South Bound Brook, N.J; a sister, Darlene Raiti of West Middlesex, Pa., and by her mother and father, Nancy L. Scott and Robert A. Scott of Sarasota, Fla.
In lieu of flowers, donations have been requested by family be made to the Goshen High School Softball Field Fund. Those donations can be sent to the Board of Education at 100 West Love St., Troy, AL, 36801. Those wanting more information can contact Jennifer Hornsby at 566-1850.
“She needs to be remembered not for the disease, but for the impact she made,” Warrick said. “She made such an impact on a lot of people. She was a wonderful person and coach no doubt. It was an honor to coach with her.”