KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Central Missouri announced longtime athletics leader Jerry Hughes died over the weekend. Hughes died late Saturday after a battle with a brief illness.
Hughes served as the athletic director for the Mules and Jennies since 1983.
During Hughes' time as athletics director, the school has won multiple NCAA championships in both men's and women's hoops, participating in 12 Division II College World World Series and winning two of them. The school’s football program has also won five MIAA conference titles since 1983.
Hughes was also able to secure investments to renovate the program’s football, baseball stadiums, the development of the school’s South Recreation Complex and the complete redesign and renovation of Keth Memorial Golf Course.
For Hughes' success with the program, he was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and was named a Missouri Sports Legend, the highest honor bestowed by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, in Jan. 2016.
Hughes also briefly served as the head coach for the program’s basketball team, where they sustained a record of 15-13.
UCM President Roger Best released a statement on Hughes' death Monday, mourning the death of a longtime colleague.
“Jerry was a friend and mentor to countless people, and his passing is a profound loss to the university and all of intercollegiate athletics," Best said. "He dedicated his life's work to his alma mater, and the UCM athletics program is among the top in Division II because of his leadership. We will be forever grateful for his contributions in making UCM a better place for us all.”