Cass' Hughes steps into newly created role; search for next HC begins

By NICHOLAS SULLIVAN
Posted 2/13/20

Bobby Hughes will not return for his seventh season as Cass head football coach next fall. However, he will remain with the school after accepting a newly established position within the Colonels …

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Cass' Hughes steps into newly created role; search for next HC begins

Posted

Bobby Hughes will not return for his seventh season as Cass head football coach next fall. However, he will remain with the school after accepting a newly established position within the Colonels athletic department.

Hughes, who went 19-41 in his time leading Cass, has been named to the athletic coordinator role, as well as head of strength, conditioning and nutrition.

"I'm very appreciative of the trust they have in me," Hughes said. "In one regard, it's sad. I've been a coordinator or a head football coach for the last 26 years, saying goodbye to that part of it is a little sad. But it's exciting that I'm able to work with other coaches and other programs, as well as still being involved with the football program.

"It's the best of both worlds."

Hughes said the new position was created by Bartow County School System superintendent Phillip Page. According to the minutes from this week's Bartow County Board of Education meeting, Kurt Scoggins was transferred into a similar role with the Adairsville athletic department. It's expected Woodland will also make an equivalent hire down the road.

While his strength, conditioning and nutrition job will call for centralizing efforts on that front, the athletic coordinator role will include a variety of tasks designed to ease the burden on Cass athletic director Nicky Moore. Hughes said some of his responsibilities would involve being a liaison between the high school and middle school, helping with college recruiting and mentoring young coaches.

"It starts with Dr. Page and the vision he has for all of the athletic departments in the county to grow," Hughes said. "He created some new positions that give each school an opportunity to continue to take things to another level. In the offseason last year, he addressed the facilities, with the turf fields and the jumbotrons.

"Now, they're making a concerted effort for all programs with the strength, conditioning and nutrition, utilizing those to the best of their ability. The athletic coordinator position has always appealed to me, as I get later in my career. The opportunity to work with someone I respect — not just as a professional but also as a friend — in Dr. Moore was very appealing."

Of course, taking on the new roles forced Hughes to give up the reins of the Colonels football program. He announced his decision in a team meeting Wednesday.

Even though it wasn't an easy conversation to have, Hughes said remaining at Cass made the whole situation much less difficult than it otherwise would have been.

"Having to tell the kids I wasn't going to be the head football coach anymore but I was going to be with them every day, that made it a lot easier on me and on them," Hughes said. "It was hard this morning telling them. When it sank in, I met with several kids, and they were understanding that this is a good thing for Cass High School. ... It's good for what we can do as an entire athletic program."

The search for the next Colonels head football coach begins immediately. With spring practices right around the corner, Hughes, who said he will work with Moore and Cass High principal Stephen Revard in finding the new coach, knows the clock is ticking.

"We want to move quickly, because spring practice will be here before you know it," Hughes said. "... We want to do due diligence and be thorough, but we want to be mindful of a timeframe."

In that respect, the timing of the transition probably isn't the most ideal. However, in regards to the overall move to a new head coach, this offseason lines up well.

Cass is coming off a 4-6 season, the program's best mark since Hughes' second season in 2015. The Colonels will also return a healthy portion of their starting lineup on both sides of the ball.

Not only is the team itself in good position to compete next season but also Cass' region schedule just got much easier. Region 7-AAAAA does have a new group of juggernauts in Blessed Trinity, Calhoun and Cartersville, but the Colonels are only competing with five schools for four playoff spots after being in a nine-team league the past four years.

"With total respect for the region that we're moving into, the job is a little more appealing moving out of the region we're moving out of," Hughes said. "The fact that we played really well in our last ballgame, there's eight starters returning on defense and six returning on offense makes for things being exciting, as far as the future and the position we're in."

Overall, Hughes believes the football program is in a strong place, and he took time to thank everyone who has been a part of putting the Colonels in that position.

"The coaches I've gotten to work with here have been some of the best staffs I've ever been a part of," Hughes said. "Especially Jamey Gaddy, he's as good as I've ever been around. I can't express how thankful I am that I got to work with somebody like that.

"Coaches are in it for different reasons. The relationships you get to have with the kids is No. 1 with me and always has been. These kids are great. The fact that I get to continue to build those relationships is exciting."

He added, "Thank you to the parents for all the support financially and motivationally, coming to the ballgames. ... The businesses in the county have been good to all the programs, and I want to thank them for what they've done for our kids. I hope they continue to do that, because these young people are our future. We need to continue to support the programs they are in, because they are so beneficial to building them into the productive adults we want them to be."