CHICKASHA – USAO Drover Hall of Famer Randy Hughes, 37, died in his home state of Georgia on Tuesday, July 22.
Hughes was on the men’s basketball team from 2000-02, leading the Drovers to back-to-back trips to the NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship and helping USAO take home the title in 2002.
Athletic Director Brisco McPherson, who was Hughes’ head coach during his time at the university, said he played a vital role on the championship team.
“He was a cornerstone for the national championship team,” McPherson said. “Without him, I don’t think it would have been possible for us to win a championship or play for two consecutive championships. He was the missing piece.”
While part of the Drovers, Hughes had two incredible seasons as the starting center in which he set the single seasons records in blocks with 105 in 2001-02 and 96 the previous season for a career mark of 201. After just two years, Hughes easily leads the USAO record books in most block shots for a career.
“On top of his talent on the court, he was one of the nicest players I’ve ever coached,” McPherson said.
Arrangements are being made through Reno Tapley Mortuary. The funeral is scheduled for Aug. 2 in Swainsboro, Georgia.
Hughes teammates set up a fund to help raise money for his family to help offset funeral costs. In seven days, nearly $6,500 have been raised toward the $7,000 role. Teammates, friends, USAO alumni and current university employees and administration have been among those who have donated.
Last minute donations to the cause can be made at the Randy Hughes Fund site.