Sarah Hopkins-Chery Named Head Coach at UC Merced

UC Merced Athletics is proud to announce the hiring of Sarah Hopkins-Chery as their second women’s basketball coach in program history.

“We are excited to have Sarah lead our women’s basketball program,” said David Dunham, Director of Recreation and Athletics.  “Her vast experience as a player and coach will surely continue the success and growth of our program.”

“I want to thank Marie Supanich and the entire search committee for this brilliant opportunity,” mentioned Sarah Hopkins-Chery.  “I am honored and humbled to be selected as the new Head Women’s Basketball Coach and ecstatic to be joining the UC Merced family.”

Hopkins-Chery comes to UC Merced by way of Park University (NAIA, DI) in Parkville, Missouri and is officially slated to start her time at the helm of the Bobcats program on August 7th.

“The search committee was impressed with Sarah’s unmatched personal drive and commitment, as well as her passion for developing a well-rounded student athlete,” noted Senior Women’s Administrator, Marie Supanich. “She is a great fit to foster the continued success of our women’s basketball program and we are looking forward to seeing her put her passion to practice.”

A native of Essex, England, Hopkins-Chery brings both playing and coaching experience to UC Merced.  In England Hopkins-Chery attended Greensward College and attributes much of her stardom in the game of basketball to the Swifts Basketball Club along with Greensward.  While with Swifts and Greensward, both teams were yearly national championship contenders, while she was a player and a coach.

She first earned international playing experience with the Under 16 and Under 20 England teams and eventually England’s senior women’s nation team in 2002.

Hopkins-Chery attended and played basketball at Jefferson College where she was an NJCAA Academic All-American Scholar-Athlete in 2005, All-Region Academic Team member in 2005 and a two-time MCCAC Academic All-Conference honoree.  Additionally the Vikings were conference champions in 2004 and 2005 while she was a part of the program.

After two years at Jefferson she transferred to Park University where she became a standout on the women’s basketball team.  As a player at Park she helped lead a Pirates squad to the programs first-ever appearance in the NAIA National Tournament in 2005-06 after winning a conference title in the Association of Independent Institutions (AII).  Hopkins-Chery was also honored as an AII-Academic All-Conference member and an NAIA All-American Scholar-Athlete in 2006 (the first of three times she received this honor).

Unfortunately an injury she suffered forced her to retire her basketball playing career but she quickly turned her sights onto her next adventure: track and cross country at Park University.  She ran on a cross country team in 2007 that were Conference and Regional Champions qualifying for the NAIA National Championship meet while she individually earned MCAC All-Conference honors.  In 2008 she ran track for Park with a 4×800 team who qualified for the NAIA National Championship meet that year as well.

As a 2007 graduate of Park University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology she returned to Park to complete her Masters of Arts degree in Communication and Leadership in 2009.  In 2012-13, Hopkins-Chery returned to Park University again, this time as an assistant coach where she has been for the past three seasons.

The depth of coaching experience she brings to UC Merced also includes the State and Regional (Essex and East of England) youth representative teams, the girls head junior varsity and assistant varsity coach at St. Pius X, head coach of P.L.A.Y., and Native Vision summer camps, to name just a few.

“Coach (Kevin) Pham has obviously built a solid foundation and I am eager to continue building upon that success,” mentioned Hopkins-Chery.  “The pursuit of excellence is expected on and off the court as our student-athletes prepare to become leaders in the community.”

As returning California Pacific Conference tournament champions, the Bobcats with Sarah Hopkins-Chery at the helm are scheduled to open their season against a strong Southern Oregon University squad on November 1 in Merced, Calif.

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