Rusty Hughes has coached the Franklin College women’s tennis team since 1988 and was at the helm Grizzlies men’s squad from 2000-2019.
A four-time women’s tennis conference coach of the year, Hughes has guided the Franklin women’s program to league championships in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2012 and second place finishes in both 2004, 2007, and 2015. Moreover, he coached standout player Kelly Vance ’04, who earned the Heartland College Athletic Conference’s MVP award in each of her four years in the program.
Hughes led the women's tennis program to a 16-3 dual meet record and a second-place HCAC finish. The Grizzlies reached the tournament championship match for the first time since 2012. Melissa Sanders '16 graduated as the program's all-time singles and wins leader. She earned her second HCAC MVP award for the second time in her career in 2015.
During the 2015 women's tennis season, Chelsea Howell '16 became the first collegiate tennis player in history to win a match on all six singles and three doubles courts in a career.
Franklin recorded consecutive third-place finishes and semifinal tournament appearances in the HCAC in 2013 and 2014. Melissa Sanders was named the HCAC Most Valuable Player in 2013.
Hughes also had achieved much success as head of the FC men’s tennis team. He was named the HCAC Co-Coach of the year award in 2005, an honor earned for the first time in the history of Franklin College men’s tennis. Hughes also has guided them to second-place efforts in HCAC championship tournament play in 2005 and 2006 and runner-up finishes in the HCAC regular season standings in the 2006 and 2008 seasons.
Hughes led the men's tennis team to a second-place finish in 2015 with a 7-1 league record. The Grizzlies advanced to the semifinal of the HCAC tournament. The team became the first school in the conference to defeat Earlham and Transylvania in the same regular season. Franklin's 5-4 road win over Earlham snapped the Quakers' 34-match HCAC winning streak.
Hughes graduated from Franklin Community High School and Vincennes University and continued his education at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. Hughes attended Vandemeir Tennis University in 1988 in Hilton Head, S.C. to learn new coaching techniques. He has given private tennis lessons for more than 20 years and coaches the Franklin Community High School girls’ tennis team in the spring.