(STATS) - A career assistant coach, Tony Hughes has a new title - head coach.
Jackson State University hired the 56-year-old Hughes on Monday to turn around a Southwestern Athletic Conference program that is coming off back-to-back losing seasons.
The 31-year coaching veteran has spent the last seven seasons at Mississippi State, overseeing the safeties and coordinating the Bulldogs' recruiting. He was named their assistant head coach in 2013.
A Southern Miss alum and former Marine, Hughes has spent much of his career in Mississippi coaching on the high school and collegiate levels. He's also been an FBS assistant at Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss and Southern Miss.
"I believe that there are enough players in the state, if we recruit right and evaluate right, every year we will field a great football team," Hughes said at his introductory news conference.
"As soon as this press conference is over with, I'll be on the phone making calls to get us some football players in here."
Hughes takes over a Jackson State program that fired Harold Jackson during his second season on Oct. 6, with Derrick McCall serving as interim coach afterward.
The Tigers played in the SWAC championship game in both 2012 and '13, but coach Rick Comegy was fired two years ago. The Tigers are 8-15 (6-12 SWAC) since then.