Herb Hughes is a most honorable and widely known and respected gentleman of the highest ideals, aspirations, achievements and reputation. One hardly knows what prefix to use when addressing him: coach, Captain (United States Navel Reserve), Dr. (Ph.D), Professor, the Honorable Hughes, "Pearly" (his athletic nickname) or just Herbie. He has held numerous respected positions and has served the University of New Mexico, the city of Albuquerque, the county of Bernalillo and the state of New Mexico as a government administrator, elected public official, corporate executive, university professor and educator and college athletic coach.
Hughes was recruited to UNM in 1948 from Albuquerque High School where he was first string All-State quarterback and defensive safety on the State Champion football team and batted third on the State Champion baseball team. Hughes quickly garnered freshman football and baseball letters at UNM when freshman were ineligible to play varsity ball. He started as a quarterback, halfback or safety on the football field and was on the All-Skyline Conference baseball team as a sure fielding outfielder who often stole bases and either battled third or cleanup.
Only a sophomore, he had earned five athletic letters. During the middle of his junior year he joined the Air Force and was called to serve in the Korean War as a flying officer. Hughes returned from the Air Force in 1955 to play out his senior year at UNM. Again, he excelled on the gridiron and batted .412 for the baseball team.
After graduating from UNM with a Bachelor of Science in Education, Hughes pursued graduate degrees (a Master of Science in Education and a Ph.D in Psychology) at Florida State University. There, he met his wife, Nancy, and engaged in coaching the Florida State Seminoles as their freshman backfield coach. Hughes' claim to fame (other than being a distant relative to the famed Howard Hughes) is coaching the movie star and TV legend Burt Reynolds and coaching alongside national sports commentator Lee Corso.
Hughes returned to New Mexico and has worn many hats. His public service and civic contributions are numerous. Hughes coordinated the Statewide Evaluation of the New Mexico Public School Finance Formula, was an elected member of the 1969 New Mexico Constitutional Convention-the first since statehood, served as the New Mexico Budget-Financial Control chief, has been a successful businessman, banker, BDM corporate administrator, served as a New Mexico Commissioner of Banking, was a healthcare evaluator and administrator, has worked at UNM as a college researcher and professor, has been an avid booster of Lobo sports and is a lifetime member of the UNM Alumni Lettermen's Association. Hughes served two terms as an Albuquerque City Councilor and was elected twice to serve as a New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner.
Herb Hughes has excelled on the fields of friendly strife as a player and leader at Albuquerque High and UNM athletics, as an aspiring college football coach, in wartime in service to his country, in public service and administration and on the fields of life as a loving family man. How could one person accomplish so much in a lifetime? Ask Herb Hughes.