RAM Pride begins with AGGIE History
Harry Walker Hughes- "Dean of American Football Coaches"
The majority of Aggies football history centers around the legendary Harry Hughes.
Born in Missouri and raised in Norman, Oklahoma, Harry Hughes was an outstanding
athlete at the University of Oklahoma from 1904 to 1908. In track he held seven
school records when he graduated and in football he was a hurdling halfback and
quarterback who is still remembered today for his great plays. Hughes played under
OU legendary coach Bennie Owen and following graduation later coached with him in
1910. Hughes coached the Norman High School football team to the state
championship when he was a senior at OU in 1907 and later coached at the University
of Central Oklahoma in 1908 and 1909.
After the 1910-11 school year, Hughes found himself wanting more out of his career
and contemplated being a professional bicyclist when Mrs. James Crabb, an old school
friend told him of an opening at Colorado Agricultural College for the Athletic Director
position. Hughes married his high school sweetheart and moved to Fort Collins on
September 1, 1911. When he arrived he was not only the football coach but also track,
baseball and basketball coach as well. Harry Hughes was the entire athletic department
staff in 1911.
He quickly cleaned up the game of football at CAC and gained respect in the Rocky
Mountain Region as a sportsman who played the game fair and without his players
fighting. In 1912 he finalized a two-year plan to build a new athletic field and in 1926 he
was the key person in the construction of the South College Gym. From 1915 to 1927,
Hughes and his football teams won six conference championships and placed second in
the conference three times. He developed a play known as the "Million Dollar Play"
that swept through the area as the most deadly offensive play of the time.
In 1926, Hughes was named to the elite NCAA National Football Rules Committee as
one of only seven members. Hughes instilled fair play into the rules of football and was
a long-time member of the committee gaining national respect. He was known as a
pessimistic coach never allowing his competition to think he was trying to show them
up. In the 1920s Hughes also developed a coaches training camp in the summer time
for area high school coaches and became a board member of the National Football
In the 1930s Hughes coached two more conference championships sharing them with
other area schools. After his 25th season as head football coach at Colorado State,
Hughes was given the nickname "Dean of American Football Coaches" because he had
the longest tenure at any single school in the nation. He resisted the pressure of big time
football and "subsidizing" football for his school; refusing to grant scholarships for
athletes to just play sports. Hughes felt it was a form of professionalism and his teams
fell from the winning column in the late 1930s.
In 1942, Hughes stepped down as head football coach to concentrate more on his
athletic director position and help train men for WW II. Midway through the 1946
season, alumni pressured Hughes' replacement, Julius "Hans" Wagner, into resigning as
head football coach and Hughes was forced to finish coaching the final four games of
the 1946 season. After hiring Bob Davis in 1947, Hughes remained as track coach and
He laid the original design to replace Colorado Field in 1946, but unfortunately a new
stadium was not built for 22 more years. Hughes retired from Colorado A & M
College on July 1, 1953 after 42 years of service and died on July 26, 1953 of a
massive heart attack. He was inducted into the Helms Armature Hall of Fame in 1952
but he is not a member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. He was
inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1972 and is a charter member of the
CSU Hall of Fame.
In 1968 the new stadium on the CSU Foothills Campus was dedicated in Hughes'
name and remains the name of the CSU football stadium.
Robert L. (Bob) Davis - "The Whip"
Bob Davis was a native of Salt Lake City, Utah and quarterback for the 1929 champion
Utah University Utes. A pupil of the great Ike Armstrong, Davis coached at South Salt
Lake High School and Weber Junior College before returning as an assistant coach
under Armstrong during WW II. In 1946, Davis moved to Denver to be the assistant
coach at the University of Denver and was hired on December 30, 1946 as the new
head coach of Colorado A & M football.
Davis utilized the "T" formation well and conducted tough practices to train his Aggie
football players. His unofficial nickname with his players was "the Whip" because he
cracked the whip in practice. (Nobody ever called him that to his face) He used an
excellent balance of returning war veterans and traditional students to turn around an
A & M team that went to the January 1, 1949 Raisin Bowl; the first in school history.
Named Mountain States Conference coach of the year in 1948, Davis' Aggies took
second in the conference in 1948, 1949 and 1950.
In 1955, Davis took his only conference championship home and following that season
stepped down as football coach to concentrate on his duties as athletic director; a
position he inherited from Harry Hughes. Davis remained the athletic director until his
untimely death in January of 1965. He is responsible for the construction of Moby
Arena and before his death laid the groundwork plans for the construction of Hughes
Davis also coached more players that went on to play in the professional ranks than any
other coach until Sonny Lubick. Thanks to his part-time job as a scout for the Detroit
Lions, Davis' players that went on to the NFL were Dale Dodrill, Thurman "Fum"
McGraw, Jim David, Don Burroughs, Jack Christiansen, Alex Burl and #1 draft pick