Kari Hughes was promoted to head coach of the Washington College women's rowing team in June 2016. In her first season, she was named the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC) Women's Coach of the Year, leading the Shorewomen to their fifth consecutive MARC Championship and fifth straight NCAA Division III Championship appearance. The following season, she guided the Shorewomen to their sixth straight MARC Championship and NCAA Championship appearance.
A former United States National Team member and veteran rowing coach and instructor, Hughes joined the Shorewomen's coaching staff as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator in July 2015.
With Hughes on the coaching staff for the 2015-16 season, the Shorewomen won their fourth straight MARC Championship and earned their fourth consecutive NCAA Division III Championship berth. The Shorewomen improved throughout the season, turning early-season losses to conference rival Franklin & Marshall in both the first and second varsity eights into resounding victories at the MARC Championships.
Hughes competed at the 1999 Pan American Games and captured a silver medal for the United States in the women's pair. Two years earlier, she finished 12th for the U.S. in that same event at the World Championships. Among her other outstanding accomplishments on the water are a first-place finish in the women's pair at the 1998 Head of the Charles and a first-place finish in the Elite Women's pair at the 1996 Canadian Henley. She rowed collegiately at the United States Naval Academy (Navy), serving as team captain in 1990 and 1991.
During the fall following the conclusion of her collegiate rowing career, Hughes served as Navy's assistant novice women's rowing coach. After five and one-half years of service as a Supply Corps Officer in the United States Navy, she returned to the Academy as assistant women's rowing coach, serving in that role from 1997 to 2001. She has also worked as a coach at the Annapolis Rowing Club and has been the administrator of Navy Rowing Camps since 1995.
Hughes received a B.S. in Oceanography from Navy in 1991.