Smith is out, and Hudson is in. Yep, the first African-American scholarship athlete at the University of Alabama is the new Women’s Basketball coach. Even though Wendell Hudson has not been a head coach in over 20 years, that did not stop Mal Moore and company from hiring him as soon as he possibly could.
As expected, there are mixed reaction amongst those who actually follow Lady Hoops (very few), leaving many Bama fans scratching their heads as to why the “coaching search” only took a few days. I myself wonder if Hudson can have real success at the Capstone, but can only sit back and watch the process unfold. Will it be a smart move in the long run? That has yet to be determined, but I can at least speculate as to why this move took place.
- Mal wanted to save some cash
If I had to give you my opinion for free (other than blogging of course), I would say that Mal saw a fiscally sound decision when they cut ties with Coach Smith. Hudson held the title of Associate Athletics Director – Alumni Relations, which is basically a glorified fund raiser. All Moore has to do is give Hudson a slight raise, and pocket the rest of Smith’s salary by not filling Hudson’s position. It’ll save the Athletic Department money for other opportunities, such as Nick Saban’s flower garden (those acres of land have to be filled with something people!)
- Smith had ruined Alabama recruiting
The rumor is that Smith kicked off a player for a poor attitude and bad behavior during her first year as coach. The only problem with this is that said player’s mother a major AAU coach in Birmingham, and refused to let Smith sign any of her players. This left Smith in a huge whole, leaving the program in shambles. If this is true, the hiring of Hudson should hopefully counteract any bad will built up by the previous staff.
- Wendell Hudson still has name recognition
Wendell Hudson was a ground breaking addition for C.M. Newton’s Alabama program of the late 60’s/ early 70’s. He helped to bring the program into a new era of competition, as well as bring on a change across the board for other Alabama programs. The parents of today’s players grew up when Hudson was in his prime in Tuscaloosa, and that should hopefully pay off when he goes on his first recruiting trip.
- Mal Moore just wanted an easy choice in order to stay the course
Let’s face it, Mal Moore isn’t the youngest man in Tuscaloosa these days. Word on the street is that he is going to stay around for a little over a year before he finally retires, and he’s trying to avoid as many key changes as possible to end his tenure. The only reason he fired Smith was because the program was so horrible it was impossible to ignore. This could explain why he won’t fire Mark Gottfried, accepted Jim Wells back, and now makes a limited number of public appearances. He wants to go out on a high note (the Saban hire), which means you won’t see too many majors moves in the next year or two. He didn’t have another long search in him, which is understandable at his age.