Michael Huyghue (HEWG) is widely regarded as one of the most prominent figures in the professional sports industry having a career that spans over 30 years. Mr. Huyghue was twice named to the Sports Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 Sports Executives. Mr. Huyghue has been a pioneer in the industry, paving the way for many other African Americans who followed in his footsteps.
Mr. Huyghue is currently President of his own boutique Sports Management and Consulting Agency headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.
Most recently, Mr. Huyghue was the Commissioner of the United Football League, that was comprised primarily of young National Football League players and former NFL Head Coaches. Mr. Huyghue, founded and directed the UFL raising over two hundred million dollars in seed money. The UFL operated for four nationally televised seasons, competing directly against the NFL. The UFL saw limited viewership but over 150 of its players and dozens of its coaches found full time starting positions within the NFL, including the current Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator of the Washington Redskins.
In 2001 Mr. Huyghue launched his own highly successful Sports and Entertainment Agency, Axcess Sports & Entertainment, that represented professional athletes, Olympic athletes, and entertainers across all team and professional sports. Mr. Huyghue has partnered with or represented many prominent celebrities and athletes like Magic Johnson, Oscar De La Hoya, Snoop Dogg, Billy Butler, Fred Funk, Vince Wilfork and other NFL Pro Bowl and Heisman Trophy winners.
In 1994 Mr. Huyghue was selected to run football operations for the NFL start up Jacksonville Jaguars. Under the leadership of Mr. Huyghue and then Head Coach Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars collected more wins in their first five seasons than any other new franchise in the history of the NFL, including a remarkable two AFC Championship game appearances.
Mr. Huyghue gained widespread prominence in 1991 as the youngest and one of the first black general managers in professional football with the NFL’s World League of American Football (Birmingham Fire). Mr. Huyghue went on to hold the most senior position in the league reporting directly to a committee of NFL owners. Mr. Huyghue lead operations for the league working overseas in Spain and Germany and became fluent in both languages.
Mr. Huyghue began his professional career as a legal assistant with the NFL Players Association under then Executive Director Gene Upshaw. Mr. Huyghue was hired away from the Players Association by the NFL Management Council in 1987 shortly after graduating from law school. As Labor Relations Counsel, Mr. Huyghue organized efforts on behalf of the NFL to direct replacement football games during that year’s player’s work stoppage. Mr. Huyghue also served as league counsel for the NFL member clubs in injury and non injury grievances, conducting over 200 arbitration hearings.
Under then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Mr. Huyghue was appointed to numerous high ranking committees, including the Management Council Executive Committee, the College Advisory Committee, and as the senior member of the Committee on Minority Hiring. During his over a dozen years working with the NFL and its member teams, Mr. Huyghue was among its highest ranking African Americans.
A lawyer by training, Mr. Huyghue attended the University of Michigan Law School, earning his Juris Doctor degree in 1987. Mr. Huyghue was a standout four sport athlete in high school in Windsor, Connecticut, and was selected into its Hall of Fame. Mr. Huyghue was recruited in athletics by many colleges and universities and chose Cornell University where he played varsity football and freshman baseball. Mr. Huyghue was elected to the Board of Trustees at Cornell and is listed among its Distinguished Alumni.
Mr. Huyghue is married to his law school classmate, Kimberly Wyche, has three children (Kristen, Kathryn and Tyler) and resides in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Mr. Huyghue is a board member of the Northeast Florida Boys and Girls Club of America, among many other charitable organizations. He is an avid golfer, and a commercial rated pilot.