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Oklahoma baseball: Impact of Pete Hughes' '19 Ways' community service program continuing to grow

While at Virginia Tech, Pete Hughes started the “19 Ways” program to honor his late mother Alice through his team’s 19 service projects every year. He has brought the program to Oklahoma and is now working to take it national.
by Ryan Aber Published: May 13, 2014
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/articleid/4815038/1/pictures/2642584">Photo - Former baseball head coach Larry Cochell, right, greets Pete Hughes after he is introduced as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners new baseball coach on Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Former baseball head coach Larry Cochell, right, greets Pete Hughes after he is introduced as the University of Oklahoma (OU) Sooners new baseball coach on Thursday, June 27, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Hughes credits volunteer assistant Ryan Connolly with the success of the program in Norman.

He was an assistant under Hughes at Virginia Tech and picked up the role as the program coordinator when he came to Norman.

“The response has been amazing,” Connolly said. “You start to see it throughout the course of the spring, the people that are here, because they’ve seen what we’ve done they want to come out and support these guys because they’ve done so much great for the community.”

Connolly understands Hughes’ drive to honor his mother. His father, Michael, died of lung cancer when Ryan was 15. The Connolly family established the Michael E. Connolly Endowment for Lung Cancer Research to honor Michael.

“You’re going to go through life and there’s going to be a ton of different things that inspire you — hopefully the majority of those are good things but some of them are things that you wish weren’t there. Obviously his mom passing was what inspired this but it was more her legacy and what she did when she was alive,” Connolly said. “That’s the same thing with me and my father. They were both extremely giving, selfless people. I guess those qualities are probably naturally going to be placed upon us and this is the result and we’re never going to stop.

“It’s going to grow. It’s going to grow big.”

The 19 Ways program lives on at Virginia Tech and is now firmly established in Norman.

Hughes’ next goal is to take the program national.

Notre Dame baseball is expected to implement the program next year, as is Delaware football. Northeastern University in Boston, where Hughes was an assistant football and baseball coach from 1991-96, is planning on making 19 Ways part of its program as well.

“My goal is to get 19 Ways chapters all over the country,” Hughes said. “It’ll be with me for the rest of my career.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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