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Tom Hudspeth

Title Head coach
College BYU
Sport Football
Career highlights
Overall 39-42-1
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
University of Texas-El Paso (OC)

Tommy Hudspeth was a football coach at both the collegiate and professional levels. He served as head coach at Brigham Young University, the University of Texas-El Paso, the National Football League's Detroit Lions and the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts.



Hudspeth graduated from Tulsa University in 1953 after completing his playing career at the school. He moved into the coaching ranks that Fall as an assistant coach at Norman High School in Oklahoma, then served the next two years in the military. Upon his release, he accepted an assistant position at Tulsa Central High School in 1956.

Returning to his alma mater the following year, Hudspeth served as an assistant for the next four years, then moved up north to the CFL, working in a similar capacity with the Calgary Stampeders from 1961-1963.


Coaching Career at BYU

In 1964, Hudspeth became a head coach for the first time, taking over the Brigham Young Cougars struggling football program. Husdspeth recruited a number of ex-Marines to play for the Cougars in his first couple of seasons and BYU saw a dramatic rise in its football fortunes. In his second season 1965 BYU won its first Western Athletic Conference championship and posted a 6-4 record. Hudspeth led the Cougars to an 8-2 mark in 1966 and had two more winning seasons in 1967 and 1969. in an eight year span, he compiled a record of 39-42-1.

Hudspeth is credited with recruiting the program's first black player in 1970.

Despite early successes, the Cougar program grew stagnant in Hudspeth's final three seasons - which included three consecutive losses to archrival Utah. Hudspeth also drew ire from some fans because he frequently lost his temper during postgame interviews.

On January 22, 1972, Hudspeth finally resigned and was replaced by one of his assistant coaches, Lavell Edwards. Edwards built BYU into a national power by the end of the decade and later led the school to its first and only football national championship in 1984.

"I can't take any credit for what LaVell did at BYU," Hudspeth said. "LaVell was a brilliant coach. When we worked together back in the 1960s, LaVell already had a great understanding of what to do on offense. I recommended him when I left to take the job at UTEP, but everyone knew what a smart young coach he was." [1]

Head Coaching Record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
1964 BYU 3-6-1
1965 BYU 6-4-0 1st
1966 BYU 8-2-0
1967 BYU 6-4-0
1968 BYU 2-8-0
1969 BYU 6-4-0
1970 BYU 3-8-0
1971 BYU 5-6-0
Total: 39-42-1
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.

Collegiate career after BYU

Hudspeth accepted a job as offensive coordinator at the University of Texas-El Paso shortly after leaving BYU. He became interim head coach on October 22, 1972 when head coach Bobby Dobbs resigned following a 56-7 loss. Hudspeth closed out the year, but following up with a disastrous 0-11 record the next year. He was subsequently fired from UTEP.

Pro career

The advent of the new World Football League in 1974 provided a new job opportunity for Hudspeth. He was hired as an offensive backs coach for the Chicago Fire. A major reason he was hired was because he had coached Chicago's quarterback Virgil Carter, at BYU. However, during the course of the season, the team's weak defense, coupled with severe financial troubles, eventually saw Hudspeth also take over the defensive backfield coaching duties.

Escaping from the ill-fated league, Hudspeth took an off-the-field job the next year as the coordinator of personnel and scouting for the Detroit Lions. He remained in that position until October 5, 1976, when Lions' head coach Rick Forzano resigned following a 1-3 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. Only 11 months later, Hudspeth was dismissed, ending his Lions' tenure with an 11-13 mark.

On March 7, 1979, Hudspeth returned to Canada when he signed a three-year contract to become the general manager of the CFL's Toronto Argonauts. He would return as a head coach on September 14, 1981, when he replaced Willie Wood with the reeling Argonauts sporting an 0-10 record. Once again, he closed out the season, then returned to the front office.


Preceded by
Hal Mitchel
Brigham Young University Head Coach
Succeeded by
Lavell Edwards
Preceded by
Bobby Dobbs
UTEP Miners Head Coach
Succeeded by
Gil Bartosh
Preceded by
Rick Forzano
Detroit Lions Head Coaches
Succeeded by
Monte Clark
Preceded by
Willie Wood
Toronto Argonauts Head Coaches
Succeeded by
Bob O'Billovich

Personal Life

Married to RuthAnne.


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