Westmont Loves Sugi 

By Anjali Nayak 

On April 29, Coach Taka “Sugi” Sugimoto participated in her last home game against Andrew Hill High School. Known for her role in badminton and field hockey, Coach Sugi has spent over four decades at Westmont. The Bay Area coach is just shy of 90 and has lived through it all: she has survived breast cancer and a World War II increment camp, graduated from UC Berkeley, taught in Richmond, and became a PE teacher at Cupertino. 

Despite her age, Sugi stays young at heart. As someone who has played field hockey with Sugi, there isn’t a bad thing I can say about her. My peers agree: “It’s very hard to put into words how much Sugi means to me,” Sana Sharma says, “she made everyone not only love and enjoy playing field hockey, but love the team as well.” Freshman Lily Bourne speaks of her first season of field hockey, “Sugi is able to identify each student’s potential as well as guide them towards it. Her coaching is helpful, she always puts the team first.”

A large student body arrived at the badminton senior night with the intention of honoring Sugi’s legacy, all donning custom shirts made for the event. Badminton and field hockey players alike purchased a We Love Sugi shirt. Badminton captain Miranda Billawala put the project together, an effort to pay tribute to the Westmont legend. “Sugi was my coach for four years and helped me become a leader in and outside of badminton. From showing up early to set up to working with individual players, she helped and cared for everyone. Without Sugi, badminton just isn’t the same and she leaves behind an unforgettable legacy.” 

Sugimoto’s coaching wins. The varsity badminton team has won 13 league championships and the school’s field hockey team has captured three  league titles with her as part of the program. Bianca Hayes says it best, “Sugi is a fireball, she knows what she wants and she gets it.”