Tigers diamond coach marks 50th season
This has been a truly milestone, golden anniversary season for a very special member of the Lyndonville High baseball team family as Mark Hughes, who over the years has served as JV coach and assistant varsity coach, is completing his 50th and final season with the Tigers.
“It’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Hughes who also served for over 20 years as Lyndonville’s girls varsity basketball and girls varsity soccer coach.
“When I’m asked why I’ve done it for so long I just tell them it’s because I really love it. I really enjoy it,” he said.
For Hughes his coaching career has enabled him to enjoy a special blending of two things that are most important to him – his personal family and his Tiger family.
Over the years his coaching the Tiger teams has also given Hughes the opportunity to spend more time with his children and now with his grandson. He coached his son Chris in baseball, his daughters Katie, Megan and Bridget in basketball and soccer and now his grandson Jack Whipple in baseball.
“It’s just been very special. I’m really blessed to have been able to spend that kind of time with my kids and now with my grandson,” he said. “And I’ve had a lot of support from parents and the community over the years which really means a lot to me.”
Over the past five decades Hughes has been on a coaching staff that has seen the Tigers diamond squad win over a dozen Genesee Region League titles, half a dozen Section V championships and an appearance in the state semifinals.
“We’ve had some real good wins and some tough losses over the years but for me it’s not the wins and losses it’s the relationships that I’ve had with the kids over the years that means the most to me,” he said. “When someone asks which one is the most memorable I say the next one is the most exciting one.”
And as for his favorite sport among those he has coaches he simply says “whatever is in season is the one I like.”
To be sure Hughes has not lost any enthusiasm for and love of coaching. “I love it. Putting on that uniform makes me feel like a little leaguer again and that is what I’ll miss,” he said.
And for the past two decades Hughes has coached with a person who loves, appreciates and is dedicated to baseball as much as he is – Tigers varsity baseball Coach Shane Price.
“When I first came here to teach 26 years ago Mark was the first guy I met and he’s been a mentor to me both as a teacher and as a coach,” said Price. “Where does the time go. I’m really going to miss spending time with him. For me Mark is that someone who is always there, someone who you can look to and can look up to. We’ve coached together for 20 years and I couldn’t have done it with anyone else and I would not have wanted to do it with anyone else. It’s been a great time.”