Longtime Golden Triangle basketball coach dies at 55

 

Stan Hughey won 453 games in 20 years as girls basketball coach at Oak Hill Academy in West Point. The longtime coach, who died Sunday at the age of 55, was in his first season as girls' basketball coach at East Webster High School in Maben.

Stan Hughey won 453 games in 20 years as girls basketball coach at Oak Hill Academy in West Point. The longtime coach, who died Sunday at the age of 55, was in his first season as girls' basketball coach at East Webster High School in Maben. Photo by: Dispatch file photo

 

Adam Minichino

 

 

Longtime girls' basketball coach Stan Hughey, who spent 20 years as coach at Oak Hill Academy, has died. 

 

Hughey, 55, died Sunday at home. The cause of death was not known at press time.  

 

Arrangements will be announced at a later date by Calvert Funeral Home in West Point. 

 

Hughey won 453 games in 20 years as the head girls basketball coach at Oak Hill Academy before resigning to take the same job at Heritage Academy. Hughey didn't coach a game at Heritage Academy. He resigned from his job there to become the girls' basketball coach at East Webster High School in Maben earlier this year.  

 

He started his coaching career at Mathiston School, which later combined with Cumberland to form East Webster High School. He spent two years at the school working in a capacity he joked you could call "coaching" because he said he knew so little about coaching. He said mentors like Ronnie Aldy, who he met at his next stop at Kirk Academy, helped teach him things he incorporated into his style of coaching. He also credited coaches like Mike Jones (Mississippi College) and Billy Wells (Winona schools) for being influences on him.  

 

"I had some great years at Oak Hill," Hughey, who also worked as track and field and tennis coach as well as athletic director at the school, said. "The bonds and relationships you build with kids is something you cherish. The thing I will miss most is all of the kids that would come back, especially at Christmas and Thanksgiving to see the team play and to see you ... I will always cherish the times and relationships I have built."  

 

Hughey was introduced as the girls basketball coach at East Webster High in May. His team was scheduled to play today and Tuesday at the Columbus Christian Academy Christmas Tournament. 

 

CCA Athletic Director and boys basketball coach Greg Watkins said Sunday that the tournament had been cancelled. 

 

Starkville Academy girls basketball coach Glenn Schmidt faced Hughey many times. Schmidt said success was a constant for the Lady Raiders, who only had one losing season in Hughey's time leading the program.  

 

"You can never put a finger on what a coach does that makes his or her players play so hard," Schmidt said in April. "but you know it is something they do at practice -- a level of intensity, a level of focus -- but you know when you take the floor (Hughey) is going to be prepared, that he has watched you, that he will make good decisions about how to play you, and his players are going to play hard and never give up. 

 

"He is a proven winner. You can't argue that." 

 

After he was announced as the new girls basketball coach at Heritage Academy, Hughey said he wasn't surprised he has been coaching for so long. He said he still had a "great desire" to coach. He said coaching "keeps you young and feeling young. It is something I dearly love doing, and I am thankful I have been able to do it this long. Hopefully I will get to do it a good deal longer." 

 

In July 2012, Hughey was named The Dispatch's All-Area small schools Girls Basketball Coach of the Year for leading Oak Hill Academy to a 27-10 record and a third-place finish in the MAIS North State tournament. The season ended with a first-round loss to Simpson Academy in the opening-round of the Overall Class AA state tournament.  

 

"All I ever wanted to do was coach baseball," Hughey said at the time. "I would never have dreamed that this opportunity would have come along. I have been really blessed to have had some great players, great parents and to have been part of such a great program." 

 

Hughey played football and baseball at Bay Springs High School. He then attended Jones County Junior College and Mississippi State. Baseball was always his love and passion. Hughey vividly recalled his trip as a fan to Omaha, Nebraska, and the College World Series, at the end of his time in college. When he completed his degree at MSU, Hughey thought he was preparing for a long baseball coaching career. 

 

But basketball pulled him. 

 

"I really fell in love with the sport of basketball," he said. "It was something I got passionate about. I studied other coaches and tendencies. I am an intense person. If I coached baseball, I would probably blow a fuse if a pitcher walked back-to-back batters. I knew that basketball was a much better fit for my personality."  

 

Hughey eventually worked as a graduate assistant to Mike Jones at Mississippi College. The following year, Oak Hill Academy called and wanted Hughey to coach there. 

 

"This was already a really good program," Hughey said. "I think we have done a great job of maintaining that success. We have had one losing season in my 17 years as head coach. That team went 14-16, but played for the North State championship. They were playing their best at the end of the season, when it mattered most."

 

Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

 

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