Former Cardinal Joins Kentucky State Football Staff

10/09/2017 01:11 PM

They say getting that first job after college can be the hardest.

“He’s got stellar recommendations and he’s been stellar. You know, that he is a Card is another plus in his favor,” Kentucky State Football Head Coach John L. Smith explained.

For Tobijah Hughley, that first job was a no-brainer.

“I had actually talked with my dad and we just thought about the schools in and around Kentucky, because I was living in Lexington at the time and I still do right now, and I was like ‘what school should I go to?’ and he was like, ‘how bout you go try Kentucky State?’ and that’s when I realized, it all clicked and kind of made sense, because Coach Smith used to to be the coach at Louisville,” Hughley explained.

From Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium, to John L. Smith; Hughley made the switch from player, to coach.

“What I did was, of course, get a hold of Coach [Chris] Klenakis, because I know he [Hughley] played for Coach Klenakis and as you all know, we’re close, so Coach [Bobby] Petrino, Coach Klenakis, all of us are very close. So, he told me, ‘Coach, you’ll love this kid.’ he said, ‘you get him on board and he’s going to be a great coach someday,’ so he said just take him and use him and he’ll do everything that you ask him to do and that’s him and he’s right,” Smith told Spectrum News.

Hughley’s door to coaching didn’t open until another door was closed.

“I didn’t get signed an NFL contract. You know, I went to rookie mini-camp with the New York Giants. Had a good time there, good practices there, but unfortunately it didn’t go my way, so I wanted to be connected with game and through that aspect I wanted to coach,” Hughley said.

The former Card was able to fill a void on the Thorobreds’ staff

“We needed someone to spend time with the tight ends, you know? So, he’s taken over our tight ends and our H-backs,” Coach Smith explained. “Playing in the offensive line- that’s not a stranger to him. He’s well aware of, you know, blocking techniques and the things that they have to do so he’s given them- and each position group, you know, they want a father and our offensive tight ends have not really had a father, they’ve kind of been step children, but now they have a father and it’s big for them. They love it.”

The advice Coach John L. Smith gave Coach Hughley was simple.

“Take the guys under your wing, kick them in the tail, love them after you kick them, but the biggest thing is- I try to make sure that all the young coaches that have been with me is don’t think you have to coach like we do. Okay? Be yourself.”

Hughley said he picked up a thing or two from Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino as well.

“Pay attention to details. It’s the small things that add up and really matter at the end of the day and Coach Petrino is one of the most meticulous and detail-oriented people that I know and I’m grateful for him for teaching me that.”

The Thorobreds are 2-4 this season. Hughley and the rest of the staff are preparing for a Saturday match-up against Miles College on the road. Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m.

Watch the fulls story below:

Lyndsey Gough

Lyndsey is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News. You can catch Lyndsey’s work on Sports Night, the only nightly show dedicated to covering everything from high school to college sports in Kentucky. She loves covering all sports but it’s the personal stories that really stand out to Lyndsey, like the story of a community coming together to remember high school track start Trinity Gay who was killed. Lyndsey came to Spectrum News from WBKO in Bowling Green where she was an Anchor, Reporter and Producer covering news and sports. She’s a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of UK. Sports Night airs at 6:30 and 10:30 weeknights on Spectrum News. If you have a story idea for Lyndsey email her at Lyndsey.gough@charter.com.

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