Tommy Hudspeth

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Tommy Hudspeth was an American and Canadian football coach and executive in both collegiate and professional levels.

Hudspeth was born on September 14, 1931, in Cherryvale, Kansas. He graduated from the University of Tulsa, where he was a three-year starter at defensive back as well as captain his senior year. After graduation he became assistant coach at Norman High School in Oklahoma before serving for two years in the military. He then became an assistant coach at Tulsa Central High School. The following year he became assistant coach at the University of Tulsa where he stayed until 1961. He moved to Canada and was assistant coach for the Calgary Stampeders through the 1963 season.

Hudspeth became a head coach in 1964 when he moved to Provo, Utah, and took over the Brigham Young University football program. The team elevated their winnings when Hudspeth recruited some ex-Marines to play. During the second season, BYU won its first Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship (1965) and ended the year with a 6-4 record. Hudspeth was also selected as WAC Coach of the Year. The following year (1966) the team’s record was 8-2. Over his eight years with BYU, his record was 39-42-1. During his 1970 season, he recruited the first black athlete, Ron Knight. The previous year, the University of Wyoming head coach had dismissed 14 black players from the team when they asked to wear black armbands during their game against BYU protesting then-Church policies excluding black members of the Church from being ordained to the priesthood. Hudspeth resigned at the conclusion of the 1971 season.

Hudspeth is carried by his team after winning the 1965 WAC championship.

In 1972, Hudspeth moved on to UTEP, first as offensive coordinator for the first season, and then stepped in as interim head coach in October 1972 when the head coach resigned. His following year was 0-11 and he was fired.

In 1974, Hudspeth was hired as an offensive backs coach for the Chicago Fire in the World Football League. He also took on the defensive backfield coaching responsibilities. The following year, he left the league and moved into administration when he became the coordinator of personnel and scouting for the NFL team the Detroit Lions. Wikipedia explains, “He remained in that position until October 5, 1976, when Lions' head coach Rick Forzano resigned following a 1–3–0 start and Hudspeth was tabbed to replace him. The new coach had mixed results during the remainder of the 1976 NFL season, with team owner William Clay Ford actively pursuing Los Angeles Rams head coach Chuck Knox to replace Hudspeth. After Knox elected to stay with the Rams, Hudspeth was re-hired on February 9, 1977, signing a three-year contract. Hudspeth and his entire coaching staff were dismissed only eleven months later on January 9, 1978, ending his Lions' tenure with an 11–13–0 mark.[1]

Hudspeth returned to Canada and signed a three-year contract as general manager of the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts. He was head coach for the remainder of the 1981 season, then returned to his administrative duties.

In 2006, Hudspeth served as an assistant in the area of development and fundraising for athletics for the University of Tulsa.

Hudspeth was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1961. He died on June 23, 2015.