Fort Worth

Dunbar H.S. Reacts to Hall of Fame Selection for Coach Robert Hughes

He's the winningest high school basketball coach of all time, and now Fort Worth's Robert Hughes is being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Hughes coached basketball at I. M. Terrell and Dunbar high schools.

His list of accomplishments include winning five state titles, 1,333 games, 35 district championships and one really big trophy.

"It's the tallest trophy made in America," said Hughes's son, Robert Hughes Jr., the current boys' basketball coach at Dunbar.

He pointed out one of his father's trophies at Dunbar that looked around 10 feet tall.

Hughes Jr. described what it was like for him getting the Hall of Fame news regarding his father.

"Not that elated, because he was always a hall of fame dad first. Basketball hall of fame was secondary to the family," said Hughes Jr.

"Stop Six and Fort Worth were just ecstatic. Here in the school, all of the kids are ecstatic," said Valerie Roberson, a former student and now Dunbar teacher.

Robertson graduated from Dunbar the same year Robert Hughes Sr. started working at the school, and she continued to follow his success.

"The community used to roll up, literally. If the boys were going to state, everybody in the community went," Robertson said. "People would make hotel reservations year after year after year, just to follow them."

Hughes Sr. also inspired many young men and women to follow in his footsteps.

"He has himself, I can think off the top five that have been inducted into the hall of fame themselves at their different universities and states," Demetric Shaw, a former stand-out player.

Shaw is now a motivational speaker and started his own business, ShawAttack.

"The mindset to never wait to be great is something that definitely came from coach, especially coming from a crazy environment, but wanting to inspire to be something better, he was all about that," Shaw said.

Off the court, Hughes Sr. played numerous roles in students' lives.

"He was my freshman health teacher, he was my ninth grade volleyball coach and he was a fun person to be around. I love Coach Hughes, yes," said Leah Gilliam, a former student and now Dunbar teacher.

Gilliam said that once Hughes Sr. kicked his young volleyball players out of the gym because they weren't working hard enough. That firm approach taught Gilliam a life lesson.

"Practice hard every day. Don't give up, just practice hard every single day," Gilliam said. "So we were trying to play, laugh and giggle. Coach Hughes don't got time for that. We were always serious with him."

Working hard is a lesson Hughes Sr. taught all of these former students and players, including his son.

"He taught me that you have to work hard all day, every day, eight days a week," Hughes Jr. said.

He added that if you out-work everybody, you should be in pretty good shape.

A documentary is currently in production about the legacy of Hughes Sr. entitled, "5700 Ramey Ave: A Hall of Fame Story." Its creator, director and producer, Mike Byars, is a former player and graduate of Dunbar in the class of 1997.

Byars said the movie is set to be released sometime soon after Hughes Sr. is officially inducted into the hall of fame. He said it tells the story of the coach's successes, as well as his failures, with tributes from NBA and college coaches along with former players, not to mention a few surprises.

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