Less than three seasons into his tenure at Jackson State, head coach Tony Hughes is out as the head coach of the Tigers.
John Hendrick, the interim head coach, said hearing the news wasn’t easy.
“I came in here three years ago with Tony and we had grand dreams of what we wanted to do with this program,” said Hendrick. “How we wanted to move this program along and get it back to the place of its tradition. For it to come to an end like this today was really tough.”
“People have told me congratulations, I don’t think it’s a congratulatory moment. I think it’s tough because he’s really done a good job here. And I just want to make sure that as we finish the rest of this season, we honor him in what we do.”
Some players didn’t take Hughes’ departure well, while others says its just a business.
“A lot of guys had a liking to Coach Hughes, and we kind of got used to that team camaraderie with him, but at the same time we have to keep pushing, we have to keep going forward,” said senior wide out Romello Shumake. “A lot of guys we have problems with it, but we’ll be OK.
“It was a moment, it was really business,” said Eric Bowie, a senior linebacker for the Tigers. “I’ve been through it before coming from Tulane. You see it as something you just kind of deal with over time, but it’s college football so. And being a senior, I’ve seen it, so it was what was it was.”
Shumake was on the team when Hughes first took over for Harold Jackson.
When asked how they handled it then, he said…
“Great leadership by the coach that came in, so I know Coach Hendrick will do a great job. Players really respect him from both sides of the ball, really respect him. So, we’ll be perfectly fine.”
Despite losing Hughes, there are three conference games left on the schedule. The Tigers said their goals for this season are still in front of them.
“If we win the next three games, we can win the East Division championship, we can have a winning season, we can fulfill the goals that we set this season,” Hendrick said. “If you can’t rally around having an opportunity to get at the top of your conference, then there’s something wrong.”