Football Coaching Staff
Hank Hughes
Assistant Coach
Coach Info:
Position: Assistant Coach
Other Position: Defensive Line
Alma Mater: Springfield College
Graduating Year: 1979

Hank Hughes joins Mike Riley’s Nebraska coaching staff as the Huskers’ defensive line coach. Hughes is a 36-year veteran of college coaching, including 27 seasons as a defensive line coach.

Hughes comes to Nebraska after serving as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Tommy Tuberville at Cincinnati in 2014. The Bearcats’ defense made steady improvement throughout the 2014 season, holding five opponents to 17 or fewer points during a seven-game win streak to end the regular season. The late-season surge helped the Bearcats earned a share of the American Athletic Conference title.

Hughes spent the previous 13 seasons as an assistant coach at Connecticut, coaching the defensive line for the Huskies throughout his tenure at the school. Hughes was the defensive coordinator for four of his seasons at UConn and was assistant head coach for eight seasons from 2005 to 2012.

During Hughes’ time with the school, Connecticut appeared in five bowl games and won a share of two Big East Championships. The 2010 Huskies earned a spot in a BCS bowl game, taking on Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The Husky defenses regularly ranked among the nation’s top rush defenses, in large part due to the play of Hughes’ defensive line, and UConn ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense in 2006, 2008 and 2012.

Hughes’ 2012 defense is regarded as one of the finest in school history with the unit ranking seventh in the country in rush defense, ninth in total defense and 19th in scoring defense. The run defense was also stout in 2011, ranking first in the Big East and fourth nationally.

The Huskies’ 2008 defense ranked among the nation’s best finishing sixth in the country and first in the Big East in total defense at just 278.0 yards per game. UConn also ranked in the top 25 nationally and top three in the Big East in 2008 in pass efficiency defense, rushing defense and scoring defense.

Hughes’ defense helped UConn make a successful transition to the Big East, leading the conference in total defense in each of its first two years in the league in 2006 and 2007. In the Huskies’ first season in FBS in 2002, Hughes’ defense ranked fifth in the nation in pass defense and the top 20 in total defense and pass efficiency defense.

Hughes also served as the defensive line coach at Memphis from 1998 to 2000, helping the Tigers lead the nation in rush defense in 2000. Hughes’ previous college coaching experience includes stints at Harvard, Cincinnati and James Madison among others, and he also spent two seasons in the professional ranks with the Montreal Machine of the World League of American Football. Hughes played linebacker at Springfield College.

Hughes Profile          
Coaching Experience

2015: Nebraska, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)
2014: Cincinnati, Assistant Coach (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line)
2013: Connecticut, Assistant Coach (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line)
2011-12: Connecticut, Assistant Coach (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line)
2005-10: Connecticut, Assistant Coach (Assistant Head Coach for Defense/Defensive Line)
2002-04: Connecticut, Assistant Coach (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line)
2001: Connecticut, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)
1998-2000: Memphis, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)
1994-97: Harvard, Assistant Coach (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line/Special Teams)
1993: Cincinnati, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)
1992: Montreal Machine, WLAF, Assistant Coach (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
1991: Montreal Machine, WLAF, Assistant Coach (Linebackers)
1985-90: James Madison, Assistant Coach (Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator)
1982-84: Lafayette, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)
1981: Northeastern, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)
1980: Springfield College, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)
1979: Albany, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)

Playing Experience
1975-78: Springfield College (Linebacker)

Education: Bachelor’s in Physical Education, Springfield College, 1979
Family: Wife, Jackie; Children, Raquel Marie, Henry, Jack, Charles

Hughes Career Highlights

  • Helped Cincinnati to a co-championship in the American Athletic Conference in 2014
  • Was part of five UConn bowl teams including the 2010 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl squad
  • Helped the Huskies to a share of two Big East Conference championships (2007 and 2010)
  • Connecticut ranked in the top 20 nationally in rushing, total and scoring defense in 2012
  • Hughes was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston in 2009
  • 2008 UConn defense was among nation’s best, ranking sixth in the country in total defense and in the top 25 in pass efficiency defense, rushing defense and scoring defense
  • Helped UConn lead the Big East in total defense in each of first two seasons in conference
  • 2004 Husky defense led the Big East in total defense and passing defense, helping the school to its first ever bowl game
  • Memphis defense in 2000 led the nation in rushing defense and was in the top 15 in total defense and scoring defense