Full Name: FRANK HUGHES
Date of Birth: 26/02/1894
Height: 175 cm ( 5-9 )
Weight: 70 kg ( 11-0 )
Debut: 09/05/1914, Round 3, Collingwood
Last Game: 19/05/1923, Round 3, Carlton
Seasons: 1914-15, 1919-23
Total Games: 87
Total Goals: 51
Honours: Premiership 1920-21, VFL Representative Team 1921 Games 1.
Total Games: 46
Total Goals: 25
Honours: Captain/Coach 1921-23. Richmond Senior Coach 1927-32- Premiership 1932.
Francis Vane “Checker” Hughes was a rover. He was a fine player around the time of Richmond’s first Premiership wins. He was a very clever footballer with a good football brain and fierce desire to win. He was a fine stab pass and very polished in the way he could evade opponents. A member of the 1920 and 1921 Premiership sides, he also represented Victoria once and was awarded Life Membership in 1923. After leaving Richmond he crossed to Ulverstone as coach for three years, before returning to Richmond as senior coach, in 1927.
As a coach “Checker” was a hard task master, shrewd and a clever tactician. He was also a very good speaker and had the ability to lift and inspire a team with his address and use of psychology. One of his strongest beliefs was that if the team was extremely fit, then injuries would not interfere with team balance. He was also one of the unluckiest coaches ever, having led teams into Grand Finals:- 1923 Richmond Reserves; 1924 until 1926 Ulverstone; and then Richmond Seniors, 1927 until 1929, and 1931 only to see them beaten. In all, eight Grand Final appearances in nine years, before Richmond Seniors won the 1932 Premiership to break his jinx. He coached Richmond for a total of six seasons.
He crossed to Melbourne as coach in 1933 along with former Richmond Secretary, Percy Page and both immediately made an impression by sacking 13 players and changing the club name from the Fuschias to the Demons. At Melbourne he led them to Premierships in 1939, 1940, 1941 and 1948 as well as runners-up in 1946. His clever use of players certainly won Melbourne the 1940 Premiership when he assigned a big strong policeman named Jack O’Keefe to follow Jack Dyer everywhere. O’Keefe did such a good job that Dyer hardly touched the ball. One of the players he coached, later became a legendary coach himself, the late Norman Smith. Francis was awarded Life Membership of both the Melbourne Football Club and the Melbourne Past Players and Officials Association. In 1996 he was inducted into the AFL’s Hall of Fame.
His VFL coaching record included five Premierships and five runners-up and he coached Victorian teams between 1949 and 1951, and again in 1953. At present, he shares the greatest winning percentage, 65%, of any league coach, with Jock McHale and Kevin Sheedy.
During World War One he served in the A.I.F where he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for Gallantry. This Medal is awarded to soldiers for actions above and beyond the call of duty. Frank was also the co-founder of the Richmond Former Players Association along with Clarrie Hall and Jack Baggot. He died in 1978. His son Frank Junior played with Richmond and Melbourne.
Burnley 1910-13 ( Honours - Premiership 1913 ).
Ulverstone Captain/Coach 1924-26 ; Melbourne Senior Coach 1933-41, 1945-48 ( Honours - Premiership 1939-41, 1948, Runners -up 1946 ).