Beer hour with KU assistant athletic director of sports performance Andrea Hudy
An outgoing, pleasant people person, former University of Kansas strength coach Andrea Hudy enjoyed training not only the Jayhawk men’s hoops players, but also coaches and athletic department personnel as well.
“She and Joe Dooley (former KU assistant and now head coach at East Carolina) used to run and ride bikes all the time, really get after it,” KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend said. Townsend was asked by The Star to reflect on his friend and co-worker Hudy, KU’s assistant athletic director for sport performance the past 15 years, who Friday was named “Head Coach, Basketball Strength and Conditioning at the University of Texas.”
“When Jank was here, he worked out with her, too,” Townsend added of current SMU coach/former KU aide Tim Jankovich.
What about Townsend himself?
“We did some things. I was probably too hard a case for her. She told me, ‘You can never out-work a bad diet,’ which is why she probably gave up on me,” Townsend added, laughing.
Dooley was during his 10 years at KU — and still is — a fitness buff.
“She was a lot of fun to be around,” Dooley said. “I can’t imagine the (total) number of days we worked out She’d create a little something we’d do whether run, bike or lift or get involved in a body-fat competition with other people. We trained for a half marathon together,” Dooley recalled Friday in a phone interview with The Star.
KU assistant coach Norm Roberts, who noted that Hudy “did a terrific job getting our guys better every year in so many different avenues,” also trained with tough taskmaster Hudy.
“I’ve ridden bikes with her and all that stuff,” Roberts said. “For seven years she tried to get me to do squats. I finally started this year. They’ve not done much at all for me (so) I’m ticked off at her,” Roberts added, laughing.
Never shy about offering her opinion to staff members who asked for her take on forms of exercise and dieting, Hudy was most known for sculpting the bodies of the Jayhawk men’s hoop players.
“The big thing is our guys respected her. She had the respect of the players immediately,” Townsend said, noting one could not help but respect a person who took such care of her own body through a rigorous workout regimen.
“She’s unbelievable,” Townsend said. “Guys tell me stories. She’d be down there in the weight room and tell one of the players, ‘Gosh that’s all you can do?’ She’d throw around the weights herself. Stories are legendary. The guys said she’d get down there and really, really get after it.”
Assistant coach Jerrance Howard learned in the first of his current run of six seasons at KU that Hudy was a workout machine.
“She came by the office one day and said, ‘Come ride a bike with me over lunch,’” Howard recalled. “I thought it’d be a quick bike around campus and we’d go stop and get a little salad and a little water on the way back. We took off from Allen Fieldhouse. By the time we got to Mass Street she was a mile in front of me laughing. It was like, ‘He is either going to catch up or I’ll leave him.’
“Coming back we had to go up that hill by The Wheel,’’ Howard continued. “She went right up that big hill. My competitive juices kicked in. Halfway up I still had to stop and walk. It showed me how tough she was and what great condition she was in. She didn’t play any games. I felt so weak and soft that I couldn’t hang with her. When she’s locked in, she’s locked in.”
Her toughness transferred to the Jayhawk players.
“She had a way of getting through to you. Whether we’re talking about Frank (Mason) … he came in kind of stubborn. By the time he was a senior he was doing extra work with Hudy,” Howard said.
Townsend, who like Hudy has worked 15 of Self’s 16 seasons at KU, remembers Hudy working wonders with guard Sherron Collins.
“The guy had potential to get big and she kept him in great shape all four years he played here. Other guys who maybe had a chance to get heavy … she’d diet with and do stuff. Guys like Doke (Udoka Azubuike) and David (McCormack) feel she really helped them get more athletic,” Townsend said.
“Frank Mason really loved her, thought she was great. The Morris twins, T-Rob (Thomas Robinson) and that group liked her a lot. She was well respected with our guys and nationally as well. I wish her the best of luck,” Townsend added.
Hudy the person will be missed, Howard said.
“We had so many heart-to-heart talks celebrating good wins. She sat behind me on the bus on road trips. We had great conversations. She is family,” Howard stated.
Former KU forward Perry Ellis said he plans on staying in touch with his friend, Hudy, the rest of his life.
“Everybody loves her. I mean it happens. It’s business sometimes,” Ellis said of Hudy leaving for a rival school. “There’s never any question … I know I can reach out to her and she’ll help me if I ever need anything.”
Ellis said one of Hudy’s top traits was her willingness to accept players’ requests at any hour of the day or night. She’d work overtime if a player requested help.
“I remember how much she helped me personally, from the standpoint she cares,” Ellis said. “I’d go to her all the time, ask her about certain things I needed help on or was struggling with — or flexibility wise. Every time she was always there and would do anything for you.”
Townsend and Dooley said though Hudy will be greatly missed, the show must go on.
“This is Kansas. I’m sure we’ll get somebody good, too. It seems Texas has had athletes in good shape anyway when we’ve played ‘em,” Townsend said with a laugh. “She’ll do a great job and will probably bring something different and new for them. It’ll be the same for us. Sometimes change means new blood, new life and stuff, too.”
Noted Dooley: “She’d be the first to tell you that is an unbelievably desirable position. It’s Kansas. You work for a Hall of Fame coach ... Coach Self at Kansas ... it doesn’t get better than that.”