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Claudia Bugiardini: Mohawk College Hall of Famer and coach

Hall of Famer Claudia Bugiardini shows what true determination is. From joining the Hall of Fame for women’s basketball at Mohawk College to being a wife and mother of four and owning a business, Bugiardini shows the value of perseverance and hard work.

Bugiardini was into sports from a very young age, and this continued into adulthood.

“When I went to high school, I was always very competitive, then I joined the Transway basketball team,” Bugiardini said. “Kids nowadays start early, even my daughter started when she was in grade four, but my journey started much later for competitive basketball. I loved it right away and put a lot of time and energy into basketball.”

Though Bugiardini’s journey started late, her love for the sport continued throughout high school and into college.

 “When it was time to make my decision for post-secondary education, I liked Earl Begg [Mohawk College’s then-head coach] right from the beginning, and I was excited to go to Mohawk to play,” Bugiardini said. “I got to play with some really great players, and that first year we ended up going to Nationals and winning a [bronze] medal for Mohawk College [in the 1987-1988 season].”

Claudia Bugiardini was an OCAA all-star in each of her three seasons.

Her determination and hard work at the sport paid off in 2001 when she was inducted into the Mohawk College Hall of Fame for women’s basketball.

“It’s not really one moment, it’s just an overall joy that comes from being competitive,” Bugiardini explained. “Definitely winning, that’s the best part. I like to work hard. I really enjoy working hard at the game.”

Doug Harrison is one of many people who coached Bugiardini. He coached her on the Transway team, not knowing that she would one day run the team.

“Claudia joined us and played for five or six years, and then she coached for many years after that,” Harrison said. “She was a very good basketball player. She’s tall and played very well.”

Bugiardini continues to use some of the skills she learned throughout her career as a basketball player in her accounting business. She still uses leadership skills and the drive to keep working hard to further build her business.

Colleague John McBrien has noticed her hard work.

“Just like a leader on a team, you try to elevate your staff. I’m not part of the staff, but I work closely with her and see how she is with everyone,” McBrien said. “She is always looking for ways to improve. She also spends a lot of time making the work environment positive for her clients and team.”

Bugiardini coached at Mohawk starting in 1998 and was involved with the college even when she was pregnant. Her daughter, Jenna Bugiardini, remembers falling in love with the sport while her mom coached because she attended all the games. Claudia Bugiardini got to teach her daughter everything she knew about the game.

“The biggest thing she taught me was that women can also be strong and empowered, and that was super impactful for me,” Jenna said. “She was a very positive coach, and I had positive experiences with her. She was never angry.

“She always wanted me to get better. It’s kind of wild, she’s kind of a superhero. She cares so much about our family, her parents, and giving back to the community. I still don’t know how she does what she does without complaining. I think it’s pretty [awesome].”

Bugiardini enjoys an active lifestyle. She still loves the sport and hopes to give more to the community and Mohawk College as well. Her name will always be in the Hall of Fame and as the years pass, she continues to build and better herself every day.

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