By Justin Sokeland
BLOOMFIELD – For former Bedford North Lawrence coach Jamie Hudson, a complex man of faith and passion, his core values never wavered. He believed everything – good or bad – happened for a reason.
He didn’t always understand why, he didn’t always agree. But to question his path, to wonder why all those curves, bumps and detours were working him away from his intended destination, would be doubting the divine leadership he trusts.
Coaches lose jobs. That’s understood. Sometimes it’s unfair, sometimes circumstances beyond control intervene. Hudson’s contract was not renewed after his ninth season with BNL, he resigned after two years (and a sectional championship) at Bloomfield. He left teaching. He was prepared to serve as a volunteer assistant for his daughter’s team.
And then, from life’s darkness, a ray of sunshine, another unexpected chance – at his alma mater, of all places. Thomas Wolfe wrote “You can’t go home again.” Hudson will defy that.
After a year away from the game, Hudson has been hired as the new boys basketball coach at Eastern Greene. He succeeds Jon Neill, who went 8-16 last year, his sixth with the Thunderbirds, before stepping down.
It’s not an exaggeration to say this is Hudson’s dream job. He graduated from Eastern in 1995, in the midst of glory days under Mark Barnhizer. After three previous stops (with Vincennes Rivet as the launch point), Hudson is back on the sideline, where he belongs. Prayers do get answered.
“God opens a lot of doors, and He also closes a lot of doors.” Hudson said. “I felt like He did that on me, He had a bigger plan for me.
“I’m just very humbled that I get the opportunity to go back to where it all started and coach at Eastern. I’m very excited.”
He moved in mysterious ways. Hudson, who went 107-96 with the Stars, was stunned when he was not retained following the 2015-16 season. He finally won a sectional title in 2018 with Bloomfield, with his eldest son playing a key role.
“Every stop I’ve had made me a better person, a better coach,” Hudson said. “I was able to build a lot of lifelong relationships at BNL. When that door closed, I was able to go to Bloomfield and win a sectional with my son on the team. I wouldn’t trade anything for that.
“I knew I wasn’t done. I just didn’t know where I would end up. Things all worked out.”
After the year away, after coaching his youngest son in Biddy Ball, Hudson was going to help Greg Burton (a former BNL boys assistant) with the Eastern girls, volunteer his expertise as his daughters prepare for their high school careers. He got hired to teach at Eastern.
“I needed to get back in it,” Hudson said. “I just wanted to help out and get back into coaching young people. I was going to be a volunteer, that’s all I wanted to be.”
At the same meeting Hudson was hired, Neill’s resignation was announced. Fate is a amazing thing.
“When I heard Jon resigned, here was my chance to throw my name in the hat,” Hudson said. “Here was my opportunity. So it all worked out the best for me and my family. I was pretty ecstatic about it. I’ve been gone 23 years from here, so it was long enough.”
Eastern should be just as thrilled to get a quality person at the helm of the program. He will take over a team heavy on juniors, with a handful of veterans, with a lot of work to do.
“There’s a lot to work with, a lot of really good kids,” Hudson said. “I think the feeder programs are pretty good. So we are going to get back to Eastern basketball, which is being tough and hard-nosed.”
Welcome home, Jamie Hudson. And God bless. Wouldn’t a renewal of the BNL-Eastern Greene series be in order? That would be the completion of a perfect circle.