Doane picks Nebraskan, FCS college football coach as next university president


CRETE, NE — A Doane graduate with a background in college football coaching is returning to Crete to become the university’s next president.

The Doane University Board of Trustees affirmed the appointment of Dr. Roger Hughes as the schools 13th president on Friday. He succeeds Dr. Jacque Carter, who is stepping down this summer after 10 years leading the university.

Hughes, 61, graduated from Doane in 1982. He received a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1984 and ’87 respectively.

Hughes is currently the head football coach at Stetson University in Deland, FL, which competes at the Division 1 FCS level. He became head coach of the Hatters in 2011 and helped restart a football program that had been dormant since 1956. He was named Pioneer Football League Coach of the Year in 2018.

“Although it is rare to find a Ph.D. who is a football coach and who continues to pursue strong academic interests, they do exist—Dr. Hughes is among them. He is an outstanding team-builder who excels at developing relationships, fund-raising, and is a highly capable visionary leader,” said search committee chair and incoming chair of Doane’s Board of Trustees Paul Schelstraete.

Prior to his tenure at Stetson, Hughes was head coach and quarterbacks coach at Princeton University from 2000-2009.

According to a news release, Hughes’ academic background is primarily related to sports medicine and athletic performance. His work includes teaching, academic publications in refereed journals, and presentations at national and international conferences.

“Doane is known for providing a high-quality liberal arts education and for professors who not only mentor students, but actually become their advocates. The intimate setting of this university allows it to provide high-impact experiential learning opportunities that are becoming more valued by students and their parents,” said Hughes. “I am excited about this opportunity and about Doane’s future.

“My life has been devoted to helping young people become leaders and the best version of themselves—instilling habits and values that will make them successful for their entire life. The opportunity to extend that to the Doane community is compelling,” Hughes said.

Hughes has several ties to Nebraska. He is a native of Crawford and his wife, Laura, is from Lincoln. Their daughter, Maddison, is a 2018 Doane graduate. Hughes has two siblings who attended Doane and live in Nebraska.

Hughes will be installed as president on June 1.