Former local coach hired at USM

Published 12:40 am Sunday, January 6, 2008

NATCHEZ — New Southern Miss head football coach Larry Fedora chose someone with Natchez ties to be on his coaching staff with the Golden Eagles.

Tony Hughes, a Southern Miss alum and former coach at South Natchez High School, was hired as USM’s defensive secondary coach earlier this week.

Hughes was an assistant football and boys track coach at South Natchez High from 1986-1988 before moving on to Hattiesburg High School and then into the college ranks.

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He spent his last three seasons at Ole Miss as the Rebels’ defensive backs coach.

Hughes, who played football for the Golden Eagles in the late 1970s, said he was excited about returning to his alma mater.

“I’m very happy about coming back,” Hughes said. “I’ve got a lot of ties here (in Hattiesburg). It’s an exciting time for me and my family.”

Hughes will be part of a staff that will try to return USM to the top of Conference USA. The Golden Eagles haven’t won a league championship since 2003.

“The program has had a lot of success in the past and we want to continue that success,” Hughes said.

While Hughes only spent a couple of years of his long coaching careeer in Natchez, he said he has fond memories of his days at South Natchez High.

“We didn’t do that well football wise, but I did have the opportunity to coach some great players,” Hughes said. “There was a great group of kids I worked with in Natchez. I’ll never forget them.”