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ANN ARBOR, Mich. University of Michigan water polo head coach Cassie Churnside announced the additions of Sami Hill and Seth Hughes to her staff as assistant coaches.

“I am super excited that Sami and Seth are joining the Michigan family,” said Churnside. “Both bring such unique skills to this program; it’s like having two head coaches next to you, which is what you need to be a successful collegiate program.”

Hill recently coached at her alma mater, Dos Pueblos High School, helming both the boys and girls varsity teams from 2016-2019. During her two seasons with the team, Hill led the squads to back-to-back Channel League Championship titles.

In 2019, Hill made the move to San Diego to coach both genders at Del Norte High School. Hill also has been the goalies coach for the USA Olympic Development Program (ODP).

“Sami has played water polo at the highest level, where she helped Team USA to a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and she played collegiately at UCLA (University of California-Los Angeles),” stated Churnside. “She knows what it takes to be a world-class goalie and water polo player. I am very excited to have her here with me.”

An accomplished water polo player and native of Santa Barbara, Calif., Hill helped Team USA to gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, 2015 World Championships, three (2014, 2015, 2016) FINA World League Super Finals, the 2014 FINA World Cup and the 2015 Pan American Games.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to coach at the collegiate level,” said Hill. “I cannot wait to experience everything that the University of Michigan has to offer. Go Blue!”

Hughes, a native of Chicago, Ill., comes to Michigan after coaching at Kearns High School (Utah) from 2018-2022. He was named women’s Coach of the Year in 2018, 2019 and 2022 and men’s Coach of the Year in 2022. Hughes helped the women’s team to three state championship titles (2018, 2019, 2022) and one men’s crown (2021).

Hughes started coaching in the ODP program with the Mountain Zone in 2018. He spent two years with the boys development team and two years with the boys youth team. Hughes was awarded the USA Water Polo ODP Boys’ National Championship Youth Coach of the year in 2022 and was chosen to attend the Futures international trip with the youth national team as an assistant coach.

“Seth is one of the best water polo coaches in Utah. He has coached both boys and girls at every level, including at the national level. He will be such a great asset to the team with his abundance of water polo knowledge,” noted Churnside.

Hughes attended the University of Illinois-Chicago, then attended the University of Utah starting in 2017. At Utah, he joined the club team and was the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) National Collegiate Club Championship Most Valuable Player in both 2018 and 2019. and Men’s Collegiate Club National Player of the Year in both 2018 and 2019.

A three-time National Collegiate Club All-America selection (First Team: 2018, 2019; 2017: Second Team) and Rocky Mountain Division Most Valuable Player (2017, 2018, 2019), he led the Utes to Fourth Place at the National Collegiate Club Championship hosted by the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 to claim tournament Most Valuable Player honors a season after also claiming MVP accolades for helping Utah claim Second Place at the 2018 National Collegiate Club Championship held at the University of Arizona. 

During his time at Utah, the Utes claimed back-to-back Rocky Mountain Division Championships in 2018 and 2019 to accompany three consecutive division All-Conference First Team nods.

“Competing with the University of Michigan has been a dream of mine ever since I first stepped foot onto the pool deck of Canham Natatorium,” said Hughes. “I could not be more grateful to Coach Cassie and the Michigan Athletics Department for giving me this opportunity, and I am so excited to get to work with the team. Go Blue!”

Information courtesy University of Michigan Athletics Communications

Collegiate Water Polo Association