Assistant Head Coach For Defense, Defensive Line
Hank Hughes is in his eighth season on the Husky coaching staff and his
fourth as assistant head coach for defense after spending the previous three as
the defensive coordinator. A 28-year veteran of the coaching profession, Hughes
joined the program in Feb. 2001 as the defensive line coach and has coached that
position group throughout his tenure at UConn.
Under Hughes, UConn led the BIG EAST in total defense in
each of its first two seasons in the league. The Huskies finished seventh in the
nation in 2006, averaging 297.1 yards per game in total defense while also
ranking fourth in passing defense and seventh in passing efficiency defense. The
Huskies used their stout defense to gain the 2007 BIG EAST Championship
with the team ranking in the top 17 nationally in passing defense, passing
efficiency defense and scoring defense.
In 2002, the Huskies’ first Division I-A season, Hughes
found great success in his opening season as UConn’s defensive coordinator. In
the Huskies’ first season of eligibility for the national I-A leaders, UConn
ranked fifth in the nation in passing defense (160.4 yards per game), 18th in
passing efficiency defense (102.44 rating) and 19th in total defense (316.1
yards per game). The Huskies ranked 23rd nationally by forcing 32 turnovers, the
team’s most since the 1992 season.
UConn continued this defensive success in 2004 as the team
led the BIG EAST in both total and passing defense en route to the program’s
first ever bowl berth, a 39-10 victory over Toledo in the Motor City Bowl. The
leader of Hughes’ defense, Alfred Fincher, became the first Husky drafted in 11
years while Tyler King and Justin Perkins both signed NFL contracts after the
season as well.
The 2006 season saw defensive tackle Rhema Fuller become
the first Husky to ever be a finalist for the Draddy Trophy.
Before coming to UConn, Hughes was the defensive line coach
at the University of Memphis from 1998-2000. The Tigers finished the 2000 season
as the No. 1 rated defense in Division I-A against the run (72.7 rushing yards
allowed per game), fifth in the nation in total defense (275.3 yards per game)
and 14th in scoring defense (18.1 points allowed per game).
Hughes is familiar with New England, having served at four
different schools in the region. In his most recent New England stop prior to
UConn, Hughes worked at Harvard (1994-97) where he was the assistant head coach,
defensive line coach and special teams coordinator. He was defensive line coach
at Cincinnati in 1993 and was an assistant coach for the Montreal Machine of the
World League of American Football in 1991 and 1992, serving as linebacker coach
in 1991 and adding defensive coordinator duties in 1992. Hughes was the
linebacker coach and recruiting coordinator at James Madison from 1985-90,
served as linebackers and defensive line coach at Lafayette from 1982-84 and
also coached the defensive line at Northeastern (1981), Springfield College
(1980) and Albany (1979).
Hughes is a 1979 graduate of Springfield College with a
bachelor’s degree in physical education. He played for four years at linebacker
and was a two-year starter. A native of Albany, N.Y., Hank and his wife, Jackie,
reside in Tolland, Conn., with their four children, Raquel Marie, Henry, Jack