In this week’s print edition, five former Tiger football stars weigh in on the past, present, and future of the program. Here’s one more.
Linebacker (20009-10) As a senior last fall, Hughes made 147 tackles, the fourth most in Tiger history. He was named first-team all-conference. Hughes played for coach Tommy West as a junior, then Larry Porter as a senior. The Tigers went 3-21 over his two seasons.
What drew you to the U of M as a recruit?
It was the coaches, and some of the players. They actually recruited me out of high school [Hughes spent two years at junior college]. They were real good people. I fell in love with Memphis. It was the people.
What are your fondest memories of the program?
It was the time I had with my teammates. When I look back, I miss my teammates. Just being at practice, on campus, hanging out with the players.
Is it critical that the Tigers become a member of a BCS conference?
That would attract a lot of top recruits. Guys want to come to a place where they can win the big ballgame.
Do you like the idea of an on-campus stadium?
Oh, yes. That would make a difference. The stadium would fill up if it was on-campus. There are a lot of kids who live on campus who don’t have vehicles. It’s hard for them to move around in the city. It’s easy just to leave your dorm room and walk [to an on-campus stadium]. The Liberty Bowl is so far from campus. There are people who want to go to the game, but just can’t because of transportation reasons.
Is a 60,000-seat stadium too big?
I don’t feel it’s too big. More people from Memphis need to come out and support the football team, like they have the basketball team. It’s kind of unbalanced, the support factor.
You’re the athletic director and you have an unlimited budget. What’s the first thing you do to help the football program?
I would change the meal plan, and make sure all the facilities for the football team are top-notch. I’d improve the medical facilities. I’d make sure the football team has everything they need to become better athletes. You know, I can’t complain about anything at Memphis. My teammates and I came to love Memphis. They gave me everything I need to become a success.