Meet the only two female head coaches at Sac State

Lori Perez leads softball and Cami Hubbs leads women’s tennis


Alex Daniels - The State Hornet

Coach Lori Perez hitting a softball while conducting fielding drills during practice at Shea Stadium on Jan. 31, 2018. Perez is one of the only two women head coaches at Sac State.

Reanna Simmons

Two female head coaches are employed in the Sacramento State athletics department: Softball coach Lori Perez and women’s tennis coach Cami Hubbs.

Perez has coached Sac State’s softball team since 2004, working as an assistant coach for nine years and serving the last six years as head coach.

Before Perez began working at Sac State, Perez was a student-athlete at Sac State.

“Lori is one of the best coaches we have here at Sacramento State — male or female,” said athletic director Mark Orr. “She’s one of the best, truly made at Sac State.”

Perez said while she was the women’s softball assistant coach, she was fortunate to learn under former head coach Kathy Strahan.

“I was pregnant at the time when I became head coach,” Perez said. “It was a tough transition.”

Perez said she was busy while transitioning into her new role and didn’t have an assistant coach through the change.

Since becoming a mom, Perez said she can’t help but have “mom guilt” while she is at practice, but that the position has its good and bad days.

“I’m obviously proud to be a head coach and female, but (just) proud to be in this position (as head coach at Sac State),” Perez said.

Sac State’s other female head coach is Cami Hubbs, who has been with the women’s tennis program at Sac State since 2017.

“I had been an assistant coach at different places for six or seven years,” Hubbs said. “(Being a head coach is) different from being an assistant coach.”

As head coach, Hubbs said she has more responsibility, yet doesn’t feel as much pressure, because an assistant coach has multiple duties that often include day in and day out jobs, such as, paperwork, stringing, and practice.

Perez said an assistant coach’s relationship with the players is different than the one players have with the head coach.

“As an assistant coach, you have a closer relationship,” Perez said.

The players are more comfortable with the assistant coach, whereas with a head coach, players are more focused on making a good impression, Perez said.

By going to the assistant coach first, it helps them figure out the right way to overcome a problem before going to the head coach, Hubbs said.  

“We have a very small team,” Hubbs said. “I like that (players) go to the assistant coach.”

One thing Hubbs said she has learned from becoming a head coach is to take care of herself, because “if you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of a team,” she said.

On a regional level, Sac State has less female head coaches than other universities in Northern California.

University of California, Davis, and University of California, Berkeley both tie for the most with having nine female head coaches. Most Northern California universities have three or more female head coaches.

Perez said the passing of Title IX has increased the emphasis on women’s sports in college and has increased the amount of female coaches employed at universities overall.

Athletic Director Mark Orr said since he has been at Sac State, there has been a diverse applicant pool for open positions.

“We want diversity,” Orr said.

While there is a strive for diversity, salaries are not equal. Baseball coach Reggie Christenen is earning almost double than Lori Perez.

“The way salaries work are compared with the sport,” said Orr.