Beer hour with KU assistant athletic director of sports performance Andrea Hudy
Andrea Hudy, strength coach for the University of Kansas men’s basketball team the past 15 years, was officially hired by Texas on Friday to oversee the Longhorns men’s and women’s basketball strength programs.
Hudy, whose new title is “Head Coach, Basketball Strength and Conditioning at The University of Texas,” will begin her position on Monday in Austin, Texas.
At KU, Hudy’s title was assistant athletic director for sport performance. She was at KU for 15 of the 16 seasons in the Bill Self era. She was hired in September 2004 by then-athletic director Lew Perkins.
“I am excited to start the next chapter in my career and thankful for this new opportunity at the University of Texas,” Hudy said Friday in a release. “I’m ready to take on the challenge of making an impact on the basketball programs at UT.
“After speaking with Shaka (Smart, UT men’s coach), I am encouraged that I will not only be able to continue working with outstanding student-athletes, but I will also have the chance to impact the program by building strong relationships.”
Hudy, according to the Texas release, will report to “Allen Hardin (executive senior associate athletics director/performance, health and wellness), will serve as the primary sport performance coach for the men’s basketball team. Zack Zillner will continue in his role as women’s basketball sports performance coach under the supervision of Hudy.”
Hudy had this to say about KU on Friday: “Kansas means the world to me. I have had the most amazing experience during my time as a Jayhawk, and will always be grateful for the people I had the opportunity to work alongside. ...
“There are not words to adequately describe my gratitude to Bill Self. He empowered me to be a leader and supported me every step of the way. His unwavering faith in me allowed me to truly make an impact with our players, and that is the work I am proudest of.
“Working in college athletics is unique because of the opportunity to make a difference in student-athletes’ lives. At Kansas I was able to do just that, and I will cherish those relationships for the rest of my life.”
Of Hudy’s decision to leave, Self said: “Andrea Hudy has played a pivotal role in our success over the last 15 years. Andrea informed me Wednesday night that she was visiting with the University of Texas about a position a little bit different than the one she had with us at the University of Kansas. I saw it as potentially a good opportunity for her.
“While I’m disappointed she is leaving, I am also excited for her, and I know our players will be as well. Bottom line is, we hate to lose her, but we understand that she has a great opportunity to grow and do something new professionally. We wish her the best, and we look forward to seeing her during the Big 12 season.”
Also reacting to the news was KU athletic director Jeff Long. He said in a release: “We appreciate Coach Hudy’s contributions to the Kansas Athletics and are proud that she has been recognized nationally as a role model for young women who are interested in sports performance. We wish her well as she pursues other challenges. We will work with Coach Self and Kansas Team Health to find another outstanding strength and conditioning coach who will help our student-athletes be their very best.”
During her 15 years in Lawrence, the Jayhawks went 449-97 (.822). Kansas won one national championship (2008), reached the Final Four three times and qualified for the Sweet 16 nine times.
The Jayhawks also claimed 14 regular-season Big 12 Conference titles and eight league tournament championships in Hudy’s years at KU. Hudy developed 11 NBA Lottery selections and 24 NBA Draft picks in her 15 seasons at Kansas, including Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, the No. 1 and No. 3 overall selections in the 2014 NBA Draft.
“We’re very excited about the addition of Andrea Hudy to our program,” Texas coach Smart said in a release. “Her track record of training elite performers is second to none, and her ability to connect with the players she trains makes her a terrific fit for our relationship-based culture.
“When Andrea expressed an interest in joining our team, it quickly became clear that her unique skill set is ideally suited for our team’s performance needs.”
Texas women’s basketball coach Karen Aston said Hudy has been a mentor to Zillner.
“He has done a fantastic job with our team for the past two seasons,” she said. “Together, Texas Basketball will be served by the best strength and conditioning team in the nation.”
It’s a significant loss for KU’s athletic department. Hudy is considered among the top in her field, and in 2013 she was honored as the National College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She also received the “Impact Award” from the NSCA in 2017 — an honor that is given each year to an individual whose career has greatly contributed to the advancement of the industry.
She also was at the cutting edge when it came to using new technology in the weight room, as she was the first college strength coach to implement SpartaTrac force plate technologies in 2012. Sparta is now used by more than 80 professional sports organizations across the world.
Another of Hudy’s strengths, according to KU’s players, was her ability to help keep them fresh and healthy late in seasons, even if they had high workloads.
Self has been effusive in his praise for Hudy in the past, frequently calling her the best strength coach in college basketball.
Hudy, a native of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, came to KU after nine years as men’s and women’s basketball strength coach at UConn. Prior to that, she was a four-year letter-winner in volleyball at Maryland before graduating in 1994.
Whether coincidental or not, Hudy’s departure comes three months after Kansas Athletics announced that it would change the structure of its sports medicine staff, launching a new model where those roughly 40 employees are now employed by Kansas Team Health: a collaboration between the athletic department, The University of Kansas Health System and LMH Health in Lawrence.
As part of that switch, KU Athletics’ medical staff members — including strength and conditioning coaches like Hudy and Zac Woodfin (football) — became employees of KU Health System while fully reporting to medical professionals.