After 31 years as an assistant coach, Tony Hughes will finally get his shot as a head coach.
Hughes was hired to lead Jackson State on Monday.
The 56-year old had spent the last seven seasons on Dan Mullen‘s staff at Mississippi State serving as assistant head coach, safeties coach and recruiting coordinator.
“Tony is fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a head coach, and I am very proud of him,” Mullen said. “He has been a loyal assistant and tireless recruiter. He’s done a tremendous job in helping evaluate our program in our seven years here.
“Jackson State is not only getting an excellent head coach, but a great person and family man. We watched his son Jay come through our program, graduate and serve as a captain on our 2014 team that spent five weeks ranked No. 1. Tony’s values will continue to make him successful. I wish him and his family all the best.”
Last year, 247Sports.com regarded Hughes as one of the top 10 recruiters in the country.
Hughes has also had coaching stints at Southern Miss, West Alabama, Hinds Community College, Louisiana Tech and Ole Miss. He also coached at Philadelphia, South Natchez and Hattiesburg High Schools.
Hughes takes over a JSU program that went 3-8 this season. Former Tigers’ head coach, Harold Jackson, was fired on Oct. 6 after going 6-11 in one-plus seasons.
Hughes is a Forest native and was a defensive back at St. Paul’s College and Southern Miss. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1981-84. His sons, Jamison and Jay, both played college football. Jamison played at Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Pearl River Community College and North Texas while Jay played at Mississippi State and then the St. Louis Rams in the NFL.