When he assumed the role of head coach for the Crimson Tide women's basketball team in 2008, Wendell Hudson had a vision to bring a program that once had produced All-Americans and competed in a Final Four back to national prominence. As he enters his fifth season at the helm, Hudson is more excited than ever because he sees the building blocks falling in place that will make his vision a reality.
Th 2012-13 squad begins the season with several new faces, both on the court and on the sidelines. The Tide welcomes six new players and three new assistant coaches, who Hudson believes will bring a fresh outlook to the program.
Although the 2011-12 season had the makings to be something special, several key injuries that caused lineup inconsistencies hampered Alabama for much of the season. Despite those setbacks, the Tide was able to produce key wins at home against previously-unbeaten Kansas and seventh-ranked Kentucky. The win over the Wildcats marked the program's first over a ranked opponent for the program since Feb. 10, 2000.
The 2010-11 season was an exciting one for Alabama women's basketball. Hudson and his staff led the team to its first winning record in eight seasons, finishing 16-13 in the regular season and 18-15 overall. This success also ushered the team to its first postseason appearance since the 2001-02 season.
The 2010-11 Tide ranked 36th nationally in steals per game (10.7 spg) and ninth in turnover margin (5.85), which was a vast increase since Hudson's arrival. Alabama also averaged nearly 12 more points per game.
Despite a 12-18 overall record in Hudson's second season, the 2009-10 Tide made progressive strides as Alabama finished the regular season with its highest SEC win total since 2005. The Tide also won multiple road games in league play for the first time since 2002 and snapped an eight-game losing skid to rival Auburn on Feb. 7, 2010. Under Hudson's guidance, several individuals made record-setting performances during the 2009-10 season including Tierney Jenkins, Dedrea Magee, Varisia Raffington and Ericka Russell. Five members of his team were named to the 2010 SEC Academic Honor Roll.
In his first season, Hudson guided the Tide to its best start in nearly a decade as it went 12-3 prior to entering Southeastern Conference play. That 2008-09 squad collected five more wins than in the previous season and won six-consecutive games for the program's longest winning streak since 2002. Russell was one of eight league rookies to be named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and also garnered Freshmen Academic Honor Roll recognition. In addition, Butler and Williams were both named to the 2009 SEC Academic Honor Roll for their successes in the classroom.
Prior to taking the head coaching reins, Hudson served from 2003-08 as the associate athletic director for alumni relations at the Capstone, a place where he built strong roots in the previous years.
Hudson graduated from The University of Alabama as its first African-American scholarship athlete and earned SEC player-of-the-year honors in 1973. He led both Alabama and the conference in scoring and was second in rebounding in 1972, then was first in boards and second in points the following season. Hudson finished his playing career in the crimson and white with 1,326 points and 826 rebounds to rank him 18th and 10th, respectively, in the Alabama annals.
A veteran basketball coach spanning 29 years of experience with both men and women's teams, including seven seasons in the SEC, Hudson has a proven track record of success, especially in the state of Alabama. He began his coaching with the Tide under C.M. Newton as an assistant from 1974-79. On the sideline as an assistant at the Capstone, Hudson helped the crimson and white compile a 129-41 record that included three straight SEC titles and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 1976. Alabama was ranked in the nation's top-10 for 43 of 54 weeks during its three-year SEC title run.
Hudson then moved on to be an assistant at North Alabama from 1979-82, with those teams combining for an overall record of 56-31. The Lions advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament twice, making an appearance in the 1980 Final Four.
Hudson's other coaching stops have included Rice (1982-83), Mississippi (1983-85) and Baylor (1985-86) before he turned his career to athletic administration at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, in 1986.
While at McLennan, Hudson served four years as an assistant athletic director before being named athletic director, a position he held for six years. He also served as the women's basketball coach from 1986-1997. In 2000, Hudson took over the head coaching duties for the men's squad. In the 12 seasons at McLennan, Hudson compiled a 239-127 overall record, including 219-117 as the head women's coach for 11 seasons.
In 2000, Hudson was awarded the Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award, given annually to former athletes who have distinguished themselves in the areas of character, contributions to society, professional achievement or service to fellow man since leaving the Capstone.
Hudson, a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, graduated from Alabama in 1973 with a bachelor of science degree. The Birmingham native was a second-round draft pick by the NBA's Chicago Bulls. Hudson also spent time playing for the American Basketball Association's Memphis Tams.
He is married to the former Belinda Urivie and has five children: Traci, Tasha, Michelle, David and Hawvy.