The University of Tulsa's assistant director for athletic development and former Golden Hurricane football standout Tommy Hudspeth, 83, died early Tuesday morning after his battle with cancer. Services are pending.
Hudspeth's career with The University of Tulsa spanned over five decades, including in the 1950s, first as a player and later as a coach, in the 1980s and 1990s as executive director of the Golden Hurricane Club and the last 10 years in the athletic development office. In his latest capacity, Hudspeth was involved with the cultivation and stewardship of Golden Hurricane Club level donors and prospects for TU athletics after rejoining the school in January 2006.
“The University of Tulsa lost a man today who lived and breathed Golden Hurricane athletics for nearly his entire life. Anyone who had the pleasure to have known Tommy Hudspeth knows how dedicated he was to his family and to TU. Tommy always had a smile on his face and would help anyone in any way he could,” said Tulsa's VP & Director of Athletics Dr. Derrick Gragg.
“Tommy was a legend on the football field for Tulsa and later touched a lot of young lives while coaching on the collegiate and professional levels. He certainly touched my life as well as many others associated with TU athletics throughout the years. Tommy will be greatly missed,” said Gragg. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ruth Ann and the entire Hudspeth family.”
In addition to his time at Tulsa, Hudspeth served as the head football coach at Brigham Young University and the University of Texas-El Paso. He also coached with the Chicago Fire of the World Football League, the CFL's Calgary Stampeders and Toronto Argonauts and the NFL's Detroit Lions.
A native of Afton, Oklahoma, Hudspeth was a 1953 graduate of The University of Tulsa. Hudspeth earned his bachelor's degree in education while playing defensive back for the Hurricane. He was a three-year starter and served as tri-captain his senior season. Hudspeth was a member of the 1952 team that compiled an 8-2-1 record and played in the Gator Bowl.
Upon graduation, Hudspeth began his coaching career on the prep level in Oklahoma and in 1957 rejoined TU as an assistant coach. From Tulsa, he went on to coach three years for Calgary of the Canadian Football League.
Hudspeth became the head football coach at Brigham Young University in 1964 and was there for eight seasons before moving to UTEP as the head football coach and assistant athletics director in 1972. After that, he spent the 1974 season with the Chicago Fire of the World Football League and moved to the NFL's Detroit Lions a year later to become the Player Personnel Director. Hudspeth became the Lions' head coach in 1977, a position he held for two seasons. He later served as General Manager and Head Coach for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts.
Hudspeth was inducted into The University of Tulsa's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.