Roger Hughes is the new head coach of football. He recently sat down with senior writer Andrew Funk.
P: Were you surprised you got this job?
RH: Yes. I thought I was a dark horse, to be honest. I didn't have any head coaching experience. At Dartmouth we'd been successful in the league prior to the last two years and I thought that might hurt me a bit. I was hoping that my strengths would get me over the fact that we had not had tremendous success the past two years.
P: What are your strengths?
RH: I'm a pretty good manager of people, I'm a people person and I communicate fairly well. I'm easy to get to know — I have no hidden agendas. My Midwestern honesty I hope shines through. I work very hard at staying contemporary.
P: You were an assistant under Tom Osborne?
RH: A graduate assistant.
P: What sort of influence did working under his system have on you?
RH: It was like being at a table with some of the best football minds in the country. When I first went there I thought I knew a lot about football. In about fifteen minutes after I got there I figured out: "Whoa, this is a different level." He's also the reason I got my Ph.D. When I had to study he said: "Hey, go study." I was the only graduate assistant who actually went to class.
P: You said one of your strengths was being open and easy to talk to. What did you do at Dartmouth to make sure your players knew that?
RH: I joke around with them and try to stay contemporary. Some of those guys were into WWF up there so I tried to stay into that. The music today is a little different from what I like but I try to stay into that as well.
P: Who's your favorite wrestler?
RH: Well, The Rock has my eye right now. I like his old saying: "Know your role and shut your mouth." It's something I can relate to.
P: What's your favorite contemporary music?
RH: You know what, I'm a Shania Twain fan. I like her a lot and I'm more on the country side of things. Shania Twain has my ear right now.
P: How do you see yourself fitting into the Princeton community?
RH: I'd really like to reach out to the faculty. My hope is to introduce something called a guest coach where a member of the faculty could attend all the team meetings for a week, travel with us, be on the sidelines, watch the game and see that it's not just a bunch of dumb jocks out there playing. They're a bunch of bright kids and we're not just coaches, we're teachers and mentors trying not just to help these kids on the field, but throughout life. I hope this would give me credibility and help the teachers feel that they could contact me if a player was struggling in class so that I could help motivate that player to do better in class.
P: At a school where your players have so many demands on them from school and football, how do you keep things loose?
RH: Humor. I'm going to tease kids a lot and let them tease me. If they have a good joke I want to hear it.
P: Even dirty jokes?
RH: No comment.