Pete Hughes, a proven program builder who has accumulated more than 650 victories in 21 seasons as a head coach, was named the 21st head baseball coach at Kansas State, Director of Athletics Gene Taylor announced Friday. This is according to a release from K-State Athletics.
Hughes, who will be formally introduced at a press conference at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 12 in the Vanier Complex’s Steel & Pipe Team Theater, agreed to a five-year contract approved by the K-State Athletics, Inc., Board of Directors and President Richard B. Myers. Hughes was selected after a national search headed by K-State’s Taylor, Executive Associate Athletics Director Casey Scott and Ventura Partners and will be paid $375,000 in the first year of the deal with $10,000 annual increases each year remaining on the contract.
“My wife Debby and I could not be more elated to be bringing our family to one of the nation’s finest college communities,” said Hughes. “I am honored that President Myers and Director of Athletics Gene Taylor have given us this opportunity to become a member of a university and department that are integrity-driven, deeply rooted in core values and that represent all that is good in college athletics.
“I am beyond excited to continue the winning tradition of Kansas State baseball that Coach Hill tirelessly created over the past 15 years. It will be a privilege to wear the Purple and White.”
“We are excited to welcome Pete, Debby and the Hughes family to K-State,” Taylor said. “When we set out to hire our next baseball coach, we concentrated on finding someone with a proven track record of building and developing a successful program at the Power Five level. That is our need at this time – rebuilding a competitive program. Everyone that we talked to throughout this process emphasized the gritty determination of Pete’s teams, his emphasis on preparation and fielding fundamentally sound teams, his relentless approach to recruiting, his focus on identifying and developing the hard-working, blue collar-type of player that will bleed purple, his commitment to community service and his devotion to his family. His record of success is impressive, and he operates his program the right way. Combine all these factors and we felt we had the right man to help lead our program back to the level of success we want to achieve at K-State. Pete and his family will fit right in at K-State, and we look forward to them joining the Wildcat family.”
Hughes, who has a proven track record of setting new standards of excellence, has compiled a career record of 652-492-3 (.570) in 21 seasons as a head coach, serving as head coach at Trinity University (1997-98), Boston College (1999-2006), Virginia Tech (2007-13) and Oklahoma (2014-17).
Twice named both the New England Coach of the Year and BIG EAST Coach of the Year, as well as the 2000 American Baseball Coaches Association Northeast Region Coach of the Year, Hughes owns a well-deserved reputation as a relentless worker, tireless recruiter and charismatic leader.
Hughes has made a name for himself within the community throughout his career, starting with his 19 Ways Foundation. During his time in Norman, his teams raised over $80,000 to fight childhood cancer through the Vs. Cancer Foundation and the OU Children’s hospital. The Sooners also put on an annual ALS Awareness Halloween Game to benefit the ALS Foundation at the conclusion of each fall season.
Hughes comes to Manhattan after spending the 2018 season at the volunteer assistant coach at Georgia, where he helped the Bulldogs earn a national seed in the NCAA Tournament. Primarily working with the team’s infielders, Hughes elevated UGA’s defense from the bottom of the SEC in 2017 to 10th-best in the nation in his one season in Athens.
In 2017, the Sooners registered a 35-24 mark and advanced to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed in the Louisville Regional. Hughes collected a 128-107-1 (.544) record in four seasons at the helm of the Sooners.
In his final season as the OU skipper, Hughes tutored 10 players that were honored with Big 12 annual awards – the most in program history – including Brylie Ware who was named the Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team along with outfielder Steele Walker.
Inheriting a Virginia Tech club in 2007 that had not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2000, Hughes went on to lead the Hokies to five straight 30-win seasons, including a pair of 40-win seasons that culminated with berths in the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2013, the latter marking the school’s first-ever selection as a regional host site. Hughes compiled a 222-174 (.561) record in seven seasons at Virginia Tech.
Hughes produced an even more remarkable turnaround at Boston College, as he took over a program that had averaged just 13 wins a year over the previous 35 seasons. The Golden Eagles finished 17-23-1 the year prior to his arrival in 1998 and, two seasons later, the team registered an 18-game improvement as it finished 35-20 and qualified for the program’s second-ever appearance in the BIG EAST Tournament. In 2005, he guided BC to a school-record 37 victories.
Averaging 31 wins a season while at Boston College, Hughes owned a career mark of 250-181-2 (.580) as the Eagles’ skipper. He coached 37 all-conference selections while at Boston College, including Jared McGuire who was named 2005 BIG EAST Player of the Year.
In 21 seasons as a head coach, Hughes’ teams have finished .500 or better 19 times while he has overseen 74 former student-athletes selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including 15 taken in the first 10 rounds.
Hughes is a 1990 graduate of Davidson College where he played third base on the baseball team and quarterback for the Wildcats’ football team. He was captain of the baseball team as a senior and graduated that year with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology/anthropology.
Hughes began his coaching career at Hamilton College in New York in 1990-91, serving as an assistant in football and was the top assistant and recruiting coordinator for baseball. He continued in that dual role at Northeastern University in Boston from the fall of 1991 until the spring of 1996 when he landed the head baseball coaching position at Trinity.
A native of Brockton, Massachusetts, Hughes and his wife Debby have five children: Thomas, Hal, Dominic, Grace and P.J. Thomas is a rising senior infielder at Oklahoma while Hal, also an infielder, just completed his freshman season at LSU.