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Sources: Princeton coach offered Stetson job
Former Princeton head coach Roger Hughes has accepted an offer to become Stetson’s football coach, sources with knowledge of the situation told The News-Journal on Friday.
Although a contract had not been signed as of Friday evening, final details were being worked out, according to the sources, and a formal announcement by Stetson could be made as early as Monday.
Stetson Athletic Director Jeff Altier would not talk specifically about who has been offered the job, but he did confirm the hiring process could be nearing an end.
“There is a desire by both parties to enter into an agreement,” Altier said in a phone interview Friday, without naming Hughes. “It’s just a matter of finalizing all the details. I’m pushing to get it done as quickly as possible. Nothing is a done deal, until it’s final.”
Stetson – which was accepted into the Pioneer Football League last week – will return to the gridiron in fall 2013, some 57 years after disbanding its football program.
Hatters officials have said they want to follow an Ivy League model as they bring football back to the DeLand school. If Hughes is their guy, they apparently have found the perfect fit in a coach who spent 18 years at Ivy League institutions – 10 as head coach at Princeton and eight as offensive coordinator at Dartmouth.
Hughes, 51, served as Princeton’s head coach from 2000-09, when he became one of just four coaches in school history to win an Ivy League championship. His overall mark of 47-52 was highlighted by a 9-1 record in 2006, when the Tigers went 6-1 to share the Ivy League title with Yale.
Hughes was a finalist in 2006 for the Eddie Robinson Award, which is given to the top coach in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA).
While offensive coordinator at Dartmouth from 1992-1999, Hughes helped the Big Green win two Ivy League championships.
A 1982 graduate of Doane College in Nebraska, Hughes was a graduate assistant at the University of Nebraska under legendary coach Tom Osborne – one of his references for the Stetson job, sources said – and an assistant coach at Doane, Wisconsin-Whitewater, Cameron and Dartmouth before he was hired by Princeton.
Hughes is one of only five coaches in Princeton history who coached the Tigers for 10 or more years. Princeton began 2009 at 1-5 before winning three of its last four games. However, that wasn’t enough to save Hughes’ job as he was fired the day after the season ended.
Hughes spent the 2010 season as wide receivers coach of the Omaha Nighthawks in the professional United Football League.
The Hatters will begin play in the Pioneer Football League – a non-scholarship FCS football-only conference that will consist of 12 teams – in 2013. Stetson will play its home games at Spec Martin Memorial Stadium, which is scheduled to be refurbished.
By SEAN KERNAN, Daytona Beach News Journal