He's back: Hughes rejoins MSU football coaching staff

Tony Hughes

Staff Writer

Tony Hughes is back with the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State head football coach Joe Moorhead announced Wednesday that he has added Hughes to his coaching staff. The move came just one day after the Bulldogs lost tight ends coach Mark Hudspeth, who took the head coaching position at Austin Peay.

Hudspeth’s departure left a vacancy in Moorhead’s staff that Hughes will now fill, though it’s currently unknown if he’ll fill Hudspeth’s role as tight ends coach or if there will be a reshuffling of duties on the MSU staff.

Either way, Hughes is back in Starkville and Moorhead is excited to have him.

“Very few coaches understand the landscape of football in the state of Mississippi better than Tony Hughes,” Moorhead said in a school release. “Tony has recruited some of the greatest players in Mississippi State history who have gone on to NFL success. He is an experienced SEC coach and has a genuine ability to connect with his players. More importantly, anyone who knows Tony knows the type of gentleman and mentor he is.”

Hughes is beginning his second stint at MSU. He spent seven seasons with the Bulldogs from 2009 through 2015 in which he coached safeties and served as recruiting coordinator under then-head coach Dan Mullen. Beginning in the spring of 2013, Hughes served as assistant head coach at MSU.

Hughes left the Bulldogs following the 2015 season and spent the last two-plus seasons as head coach at Jackson State.

Jackson State let Hughes go midway through last season. Now, he lands on his feet back in Starkville and he’s happy to return.

“I am extremely appreciative of coach Moorhead for giving me the opportunity to work at Mississippi State again,” Hughes said. “Mississippi State means a lot to my family, and we are excited to be a part of a great football staff and a terrific athletic department. I can’t wait to get started.”

Hughes has a reputation as one of the best recruiters in college football. In his seven previous years at Mississippi State, Hughes helped recruit and mentor some of the football program’s most notable stars including now-three-time-NFL Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, defensive end Chris Jones, defensive backs Darius Slay and Johnthan Banks, linebacker Benardrick McKinney and offensive lineman Gabe Jackson. Now, Hughes gets to work on recruiting and mentoring a new generation of Bulldogs.

“He possesses a track record of developing players into men and preparing them for life after football,” Moorhead said of Hughes. “We are thrilled to welcome Tony and his family back to Starkville.”