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Tue, 05.15.1928

Robert Hughes Sr., Basketball Coach born

Robert Hughes Sr.

*Robert Hughes Sr. was born on this date in 1928. He is a retired Black high school basketball coach.

From Tulsa, Oklahoma, Robert Hughes Sr. joined the Army after high school. At 6'6", he was recruited for a unit that just played basketball; it was the first integrated team Hughes ever played on. When he left the Army, Texas Southern University offered him a basketball scholarship.

Playing for coach Edward H. Adams, Hughes was an All-American at Southern. He started playing for the barnstorming Harlem Magicians in 1954 and was selected by the Boston Celtics as a supplemental draft pick in the 1955 NBA Draft, but he did not make the team. Hughes returned to the Magicians in 1955 and met his wife, Jacquelyne Johnson, while playing in a tournament in Memphis. Still, a ruptured Achilles tendon later that season forced him to give up playing basketball.

He returned home to Oklahoma and attended the University of Tulsa, graduating in 1957. Hughes worked at Douglas Aircraft as a mechanic after graduation until his former coach at Texas Southern asked him to coach. Hughes coached at I. M. Terrell High School in Fort Worth, Texas (an all-black high school) during Jim Crow. Hughes led Terrell to three PVIL state championships and one runner-up in the five years from 1963 to 1967. After segregation ended and I.M. Terrell was shut down in 1973, Hughes began coaching at Dunbar High School in the Fort Worth Independent School District.

At Dunbar, Hughes won two state titles, finished as state runner-up three times, and took the team to the final 12 times between 1977 and 2003, including ten final fours in the 17-year run between 1977 and 1993. In 32 seasons at Dunbar, Hughes only had one assistant coach, Leondas Rambo, who retired with Hughes in 2005. Between Terrell and Dunbar combined, Hughes won five state basketball titles and retired as the all-time winningest high school basketball coach, passing Morgan Wootten in 2003.

One of Hughes' achievements was his election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on March 31, 2017. Additional halls of fame include the Texas Basketball Hall of Fame (1993), the High School Basketball Hall of Fame (2003), and the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame (2013). He was selected as the NHSCA National High School Coach of the Year in 2003 and received the Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. 

His wife of 57 years, Jacquelyne Sue Johnson Hughes, died July 1, 2014. His son, Robert Hughes Jr., took over head coaching duties at Dunbar after Hughes Sr. retired in 2005 and is the current coach at Dunbar High School. He has two daughters, Carlye is an Episcopal Bishop of Newark, and Robin is dean of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Education, Health and Human Behavior in July 2019. Hughes resides in the Stop Six neighborhood of southeast Fort Worth.

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