Friday, August 16, 2019

Departing KU strength coach Andrea Hudy: ‘Kansas means the world to me’

Andrea Hudy turns over her shoulder to laugh with players Thomas Robinson, Niko Roberts and assistant strength and conditioning coach Glenn Cain during a workout session. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Andrea Hudy turns over her shoulder to laugh with players Thomas Robinson, Niko Roberts and assistant strength and conditioning coach Glenn Cain during a workout session. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo


After 15 years at a place that “means the world” to her, Kansas basketball strength and conditioning coach Andrea Hudy is officially leaving KU.

The news, which first broke Thursday night, became official on Friday afternoon when KU announced in a news release that Hudy was leaving the program for a slightly different role at the University of Texas.

“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,” Self said in the release. “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.”

According to a UT news release announcing Hudy’s hire, the now-former KU employee will oversee strength and conditioning for both men’s and women’s basketball at Texas.

The men’s program had an opening after strength coach Daniel Roose, who followed UT head coach Shaka Smart from VCU to Texas, left earlier this month to return to VCU.

“After speaking with Shaka, 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 said in a statement released by the UT athletic department.

Added Smart: “We’re very excited about the addition of Andrea Hudy to our program. 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. We’re looking forward to Andrea getting to work with our guys immediately.”

Hudy is slated to start her new job in Austin on Monday.

Hudy protege Zack Zillner, who works with the Texas women’s program, will now work for his mentor in Austin.

“Together, Texas basketball will be served by the best strength and conditioning team in the nation,” UT women’s coach Karen Aston said in a statement.

For 15 years Hudy was credited with being a huge part of the success that Kansas basketball has enjoyed under Self.

“Andrea Hudy has played a pivotal role in our success over the last 15 years,” Self said Friday.

In 2013, Hudy was named the National College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. A few years later, in 2017, she was awarded with the NSCA’s Impact Award, given annually to someone who has contributed to the advancement of the industry.

“I have had the most amazing experience during my time as a Jayhawk,” Hudy said. “and will always be grateful for the people I had the opportunity to work alongside.”

After working for nine years as the strength and conditioning coach for men’s and women’s basketball at UConn, Hudy came to Kansas in 2004 and immediately found success. On Friday, she gave special thanks to Self.

“There are not words to adequately describe my gratitude to Bill Self,” Hudy said in the release. “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.”

Hudy’s departure comes a few months after KU’s athletic department restructured its health care plan for student-athletes by shifting to a new model that led to Hudy and roughly 40 other employees working for the newly formed Kansas Team Health, a joint venture that includes the KU athletic department, The University of Kansas Health System and LMH Health in Lawrence.

All of the former KU employees affected by the change began reporting to medical professionals at KU Health System instead of athletic department officials.

Former longtime KU football trainer, Murphy Grant, another accomplished professional in the sports medicine industry, recently left KU for a similar job at Wake Forest.

Although Grant had not been KU football’s primary trainer for more than a year, he still was around the program in his role as KU’s Associate Athletic Director for sports medicine. As of Friday, that position had not been filled, a KU spokesperson said.

The search to find Hudy’s replacement will begin immediately and KU Athletic Director Jeff Long, just beginning his second year at Kansas, explained a little about how that process will work in the release.

“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,” Long said.

In May, when the Kansas Team Health model was launched, Long answered hypothetical questions about hirings and firings under the new structure by calling it a “shared responsibility.”

“(The) coach is still involved in the hiring,” Long said in May. “But there’s others involved as well to make sure that that strength coach or that trainer has the proper credentials and understands our model and can operate and work in our new model.”

On Friday, Long added: “We appreciate Coach Hudy’s contributions to 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.”

Those challenges will come within the Big 12 Conference, meaning that Hudy will be crossing paths with the KU several times a year.

“There are so many people I have come across at KU who have helped push me forward in my career, and made an impact in my life in numerous ways,” Hudy said in the release. “Lawrence will always have a special place in my heart. The people here embraced me immediately upon joining the Jayhawk family, and made me feel at home. Thank you Jayhawk Nation for an amazing 15 years! Rock Chalk!”


Brian Wilson 1 year, 6 months ago

So....the position is really the same....only she gets to work with the women's team as well and have control of her program. hmm.

I guess when it comes to independence, Remember the Alamo!

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

She also can run her own show without medical people looking over her shoulder and maybe requiring their approval for what used to be her decisions. And now will be again.

Jeff Foster 1 year, 6 months ago

And I'm sure it's a sizable jump in $$ for her.

Brad Avery 1 year, 6 months ago

Long needs to leave the basketball program and it strength coach decisions to Bill Self. Otherwise he is going to lose a basketball coach as well as the best strength coach in the country. This is stupid.

Stuart Corder 1 year, 6 months ago

This is a devastating blow to the Kansas basketball program. The University of Kansas just ran off the best in the business.

Doug Wallace 1 year, 6 months ago

This sucks!Hate to lose her and to the Texass Longhorns!

David Black 1 year, 6 months ago

Big mistake in my opinion to lose the top strength coach through a restructure...

Gerry Butler 1 year, 6 months ago

Huge Mistake - -you just don't find Strength and Conditioning Coach's like Hudy at the drop of a hat. - -Hudy played a big part with our Basketball program - -and you could tell that the guys really enjoyed her being a part of the program.

Hudy your going to be really missed - hop we just didn't screw up by allowing this to happen. - -Bottom line is - -don't really think this is something she wanted to do - -Think with the switching up from Ku, she just felt it was time to go - -Sad day in Jay Hawk Nation - - ROCK CHALK HUDY - -you'll truly be missed

Blake Brown 1 year, 6 months ago

Another ridiculous bowing to the Medical profession which has an in the box model of treating symptoms in lieu of dealing also with the cause and recommending drugs and surgery as a first option instead of being a last option. Somebody sold a bill of goods to the higher ups and now we lose top pros in the fitness and strength industry because of politics which always is about power, money and control. Sad and a big loss for the athletes and the program.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

I wonder if this is more personal than it appears most are thinking. Maybe this is a case of a wonderful relatively young lady wanting more than work and $. Wanting to explore a bigger sea. Austin is supposed to be a great place to live. So is Lawrence though obviously different. Best wishes to you Ms Hudy. Rock Chalk.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 6 months ago

No. IMO, Hudy wanted to work with the women as well. She wants to be in charge and not have to answer to some doctor who may have great medical knowledge but in reality has no understanding about how to build strength, endurance, etc.,

This hole restructure is just politics and was a decision not made by the athletic department but someone else.

Michael Sillman 1 year, 6 months ago

As would be expected, everyone is dancing around the question as to whether the reorg was a factor or not. It’s certainly possible that this was going to happen regardless. One of her protégés was already at Texas.

During my decades in management, I always looked at the departure of an employee, even a great one, as an opportunity to bring in fresh blood with new skills and approaches. While I hate to see Hudy leave, there’s no reason to not look at this transition in the same way.

I wish Hudy good but limited success in Austin.

Chris Bailey 1 year, 6 months ago

Had we paid her what she was worth she wouldn’t have left Kansas. We are going to miss her and her amazing skills in readying our players. She should’ve been paid what the football strength coach was paid. Maybe she would’ve stayed. I have friends that are very close to Hudy and have known she was leaving for awhile. It’s nice to have friends like that but it’s sad to see them hurting. I wish Hudy all the best and the greatest of success in Austin. If we lose it’s probably because we let her get away.

Joe Ross 1 year, 6 months ago

" When Andrea expressed an interest in joining our team...".

Man, that stings! Texas didn't even pursue her. She sought them. One would be forgiven in thinking, given the timing of the rollout with this new medical oversight, that there is an association between it and her desire to leave.

Whether that's true or not, the basketball team has been humming along under Coach Self. Please limit involvement to making sure we're not making inappropriate recruiting violations.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Glen Miller 1 year, 6 months ago

This is what happens when you involve politics where it doesn't belong. You lose quality people who know what they are doing. I don't blame her for not wanting to be a puppet in their show, kinda a slap in her face if you ask me. The worst part is that she reached out to them, not the other way around........ Good luck to her and thank you for all that you did for our program and University!

Robert Robinson 1 year, 6 months ago

I get why she would want to leave. She's been running the show and now they bring in "experts" to look over her shoulder. I relate it to my job where I have engineers looking at a clipboard telling me I'm doing my job wrong. The fact that she went to them in search of a job says a lot. Bad move Long

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