MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- When you think of the Green Bay Packers, you immediately see the image of Vince Lombardi as he symbolized and embodied the organization for many years.
When I think of Oakland High School football, I immediately think the same of Ray Hughes.
Hughes loved Oakland football.
He was the program’s first coach, he was always around even when he finally retired, and this year the school’s football stadium was rightfully named in his honor.
I know that was a great moment for Hughes’ family. I’m glad they were with him.
On Sunday, Hughes died at the age of 78.
Hughes was old school, tough-minded and just a fun guy to talk football with. He was a loyal caller to my afternoon radio show, “All Sports Talk,” and would always bring up a blast from the past.
He touched many young lives while teaching and coaching for more than 30 years in Rutherford County. He was all about discipline, whether it be on or off the playing field.
I found that out first-hand as a first-grader at Hobgood Elementary School when I felt the wrath of then Principal Hughes’ paddle, which at the time, looked like a giant boat oar.
I didn’t act like a fool on the playground anymore, however.
Hughes was a tremendous family man, spending almost all of his adult life with Mary Frances Colvin Hughes.
And he loved his daughters unconditionally. My heart goes out to Roseann, Fran and Amy, as well as their entire family.
Many people make an important impact during their life, even if they’re not in the public spotlight.
However, those who are in the spotlight are under a microscope. They’re every move and actions are always scrutinized. Coach didn’t disappoint.
Hughes was a tremendous person, educator and coach. He’ll be missed greatly, but he has left an impression that won’t be forgotten in this community.
I know he’ll be breaking down game field and playing golf daily as he watches down on all of us. MP
Monte Hale Jr. is the managing editor of The Murfreesboro Post. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter at HaleMonte.