“There’s no way I’m not getting this job.”
Hughes is a Boston guy through and through, and make no mistake, Boston College was a job he desperately wanted.
“When you grow up in New England, there’s only one school — it’s Boston College,” Hughes said. “I was going to be the next Doug Flutie.”
The Eagles, a program in the basement of the Big East, were either going to drop the program or get serious. Hughes thought he was the perfect fit for the job.
“I’m an excitable, enthusiastic, young head coach with Boston roots,” Hughes said. “I must’ve called every connection I knew to flood Gene DiFillippo’s office with phone calls.”
Hughes interviewed for the Boston College position on July 3, the day Hughes’ childhood neighbor Jay McGillis died of leukemia. McGillis played football at Boston College under now-New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.
“There’s no way I’m not getting this job,” Hughes said.
Despite his confidence, Hughes pulled out all the stops in securing his job in Chestnut Hill. He went as far as waiting for Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo to arrive at work around 6:30 a.m. two days after his official interview.
“I jump out of my car, ‘Coach, I just want to say if you hire me that I’ll exceed your expectations. Morning,’” Hughes said. “Then I get in the car and drive away.”
Hughes turned the Eagles into a respectable program in his eight years there, averaging 31 wins a season. He found success despite scholarship limits, poor facilities and the New England climate, which is not conducive for college baseball.
The next step of his journey pulled Hughes from one commonwealth to another — a transition he’s made seamlessly.