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Monarchs honor life of Chris Hughes
The Exeter Monarchs varsity baseball team takes a moment of silence to honor Chris Hughes in front of his favorite spot to watch baseball games.
Photo by Claire LivingstonThe Exeter Monarchs varsity baseball team takes a moment of silence to honor Chris Hughes in front of his favorite spot to watch baseball games.

The Exeter Monarchs varsity baseball team hold a moment of silence to remember Chris Hughes before their home game

EXETER – Chris Hughes dedicated his life to improving the lives of kids playing sports in Exeter and Lindsay, so the Exeter varsity baseball team took time to honor him after his death.

Hughes was the father of first baseman Carson Hughes and has been involved in youth sports in Exeter and Lindsay for the last decade. He passed away on April 11 after a short battle with liver cancer. They spent a moment of silence in his favorite spot to watch games and Carson brought a baseball signed by the whole team to his mom, Christy Hughes.

“He made the players better and he made us better,” Hughes’ best friend and fellow coach Steve Lentz said.

Hughes was born in Lindsay, Calif. and spent his whole life in Tulare County. After graduating Golden West High School, he became an EMT before joining the Lindsay Police Department. In 2016, Hughes became the public safety chief in Lindsay and served until his retirement in 2021.

His passion was youth sports. Hughes coached Little League and Exeter Youth Football before eventually becoming an assistant coach for the varsity football team at Lindsay High School. More recently he coached football at Exeter Union High School, while also staying actively involved with the baseball team. He liked to watch games from behind the fence in left field.

“As a mentor to these kids, that’s what was most important,” Ruben Ruiz, a friend and colleague of Hughes, said. “He just wanted all the kids to be successful in life, whatever they did.”

Despite working 50 or 60 hours a week in law enforcement, Hughes dedicated his free time to coaching sports at all levels, from youth to high school. His passion and commitment inspired the men around him to commit more time to the kids and sports they love. His goal was always to give back to the kids in the community, which became the collective goal of the men around him.

On the field, Hughes was like a father figure not just to his own sons, Connor, Carson and Cadon, but to all the kids he coached. He believed that every kid had a right to be on a team, whether they were extremely talented at the sport or a beginner. He would often spend extra time at practice with the kids who had less natural talent, in order to help them keep up with everyone else.

“Every kid on the field has some significant, special moment with him to feel that they belonged,” Lentz said.

The Monarchs chose to honor Hughes before their game against Hanford West with a moment of silence in front of his favorite spot to watch varsity baseball games. After attending his funeral that morning, the players still came out to play their game and brought home a 10-9 win over the Huskies. Hughes’ friends and colleagues gathered behind the fence to watch the game and remember Hughes and his life.

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