John Hudson - Inaugural Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award
BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – Small College Basketball (SCB) is pleased to announce the inaugural winner of the SCB Lifetime Achievement Award to John Hudson, a prominent figure in the NAIA and former head coach at the University of Science and Arts Oklahoma and former commissioner of the Sooner Athletic Conference.
Hudson was awarded with the honor at the Small College Basketball National Awards Show on Saturday evening at the Starlight Ballroom inside the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
"We are so proud to present our first Lifetime Achievement Award to John Hudson, as he has been extremely engrossed, involved and supportive of small college basketball for more than five decades,” said John McCarty, Founder of Small College Basketball. “He has a tremendous passion for our game of basketball, and he has served as the Commissioner of the Sooner Athletic Conference for 38 years, never taking a salary. Additionally, he has created an event in Oklahoma to gather coaches, game officials and administrators on an annual basis and nobody pays anything.
“John loves college basketball so much that he has attended the NAIA Tournament for over 50 years in a row. Additionally, he has been very supportive of our initiatives through Small College Basketball. We are very excited to honor John for his tremendous contributions to our game."
Hudson, a native of Coalgate, a small town in southeastern Oklahoma, was a letterman in football and basketball and an honor student in high school. He attended Oklahoma Baptist University where he played basketball, worked several jobs, succeeded academically, and graduated in three years with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
He then attended the University of Oklahoma School of Law, earning his degree in 1973. While attending law school, Hudson served as assistant basketball coach at OBU. He was the primary recruiter for the Bison, and his efforts helped OBU win the NAIA District 9 title in 1973 and advance to the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City. He also started OBU’s athletic fund-raising organization, the Bison Athletic Association.
In 1973 Hudson was hired as basketball coach and athletic director at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Since the school did not have a basketball program, Hudson was the founding father of men’s basketball at USAO. He coached there two years.
In 1978 attorney John Hudson wrote the constitution for the newly-created Sooner Athletic Conference (NAIA) and became its first commissioner. He led the SAC until retiring in 2016—serving 38 years without compensation. During his tenure the SAC won 94 national championships, including 11 in men’s basketball and 15 in women’s basketball.
“John Hudson loves small college basketball and he is one of the most generous men I know in giving time and resources to promote the game,” said Jim Poteet, Chair of the Alumni Association National Committee.”
Through the years Hudson has assigned officials, coordinated training programs for officials, and served as an observer of Big 12 officials. He has helped current and former players, coaches, athletic directors, and officials throughout his career. For several years he has sponsored an annual gathering in Oklahoma City of current and former Oklahoma coaches and officials and former players (at no cost to those attending). Approximately 200 showed up in 2017.He is a member of the OBU Athletic Hall of Fame, the USAO Hall of Fame, and the NAIA Hall of Fame.
Hudson is married to the former Janet Marshall and they have three daughters and several grandchildren.