TSUSports.com: TSU's Hughes enters Basketball Hall of Fame

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    Courtesy: Conor Ryan masslive.com

    SPRINGFIELD- Robert Hughes (pictured above far left) might have summed it up best as he strolled up to the podium at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Thursday.

    "I'm here," the 89-year-old Hughes said. "But I keep thinking, 'Why did it take so dang long?'"

    It's a very good question.

    A coaching legend in high-school athletics, Hughes was named to the Hall of Fame's Class of 2017 after leading the Fort Worth I.M. Terrell and Fort Worth Dunbar programs for 47 years.

    During that stretch, Hughes became the all-time winningest boys basketball coach in the country, boasting a career record of 1,333-247 (.844) while leading his teams to five state championships and 35 district championships.

    "It's amazing," Kansas head coach and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Bill Self said. "With all of the success that he's had, it's remarkable. You think we have a good record at home in Kansas. I guarantee his record at Fort Worth Dunbar would blow that away."

    For Hughes, who began his coaching career at I.M. Terrell during the time of racial segregation, discipline and conditioning were the biggest factors that separated his teams from the rest of the competition in Texas. It wasn't an easy environment for both Hughes and his players, but they often let their play do the talking year after year.

    "I'll admit that we were a bullet going up and down the court," Hughes said. "We were runners. That's what we excelled at. And one of the things we really stressed was that we would never, ever let anyone outrun us, period. We had superintendents going bonkers, we had other teams calling us bad names because we ran so much. It was just our way of life."

    Hughes' initial remark about his initial omission from the Hall of Fame was well-founded, as he was named as a finalist for induction twice previously before getting passed over.

    But when asked if his upcoming induction was a necessary accolade following his prestigious coaching career, Hughes was blunt.

    "Not really," Hughes admitted. "I wouldn't fight over it."

    At this point, Hughes doesn't seem particularly focused on reflecting on past records, trophies or titles.

    If he had his way, he'd still want to be back on the bench.

    "It was a great, great 47 years for me," Hughes said. "If I had the money, I would have paid to be the coach."

    Courtesy: TSU Athletics
     

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