Welsh let Hughes know his fate on Tuesday, but neither went public with the move until Hughes spoke to his team Wednesday in a tearful farewell.
“It’s always the hardest part,” Hughes said. “That’s why you do the job is for the kids.”
This is the second time Hughes has been forced from his position on the Tornadoes sideline. After the 1996 season, he left amidst controversy over an ineligible player.
Hughes’ record at Hoover through 1986-96 and 2004-07 was 30-118-3.
The Tornadoes’ roughest times have come lately, though.
Hoover went 0-10 in 2007, a season after going 1-9.
The team’s last victory, a 22-15 win against rival Glendale on Nov. 9, 2006, was sandwiched in between 14- and 10-game losing streaks.
Welsh took full responsibility for the decision, all the while heaping praise upon Hughes for his character.
“This was my decision — this was a very painful and difficult decision,” Welsh said.
“Dennis really does deserve praise for his services.”
Despite all the losses, Hughes was well regarded for his passion for his players and the class he showed in defeat.
“He undoubtedly cared about his players, even after they played and after they graduated,” said Edgar Melik-Stepanyan, a sportswriter for the Glendale News-Press from 2000-06, who served as the Hoover football public-address announcer this past season. “[After a game he was] always very humble. Always very gracious. Always complimented the other coaches and other teams.”
Hughes was the last coach to take Hoover to the playoffs. It was in 1987, when the Tornadoes won a share of the Pacific League title.
Since then, their best mark was in 1995, as they went 4-4-2 under Hughes’ tutelage.
During the past four seasons, Hoover went 7-33 and 2-22 in Pacific League competition.
For many of those seasons, Hughes coached against longtime former Crescenta Valley Coach Alan Eberhart.