Arkansas State University hires Alabama assistant as basketball coach

by George Jared ([email protected]) 1,111 views 

University of Alabama assistant coach Bryan Hodgson has been hired as head coach of the Arkansas State University men’s basketball program, Vice Chancellor of Intercollegiate Athletics Jeff Purinton announced Wednesday (March 22).

Hodgson comes to A-State after spending the last four seasons with Alabama. He also coached at the University of Buffalo (2015-19), Midland (Texas) Junior College (2013-15), Jamestown (NY) Community College (2010-13) and Fredonia State (NY) University (2007-10). He becomes the 17th head coach in A-State program history.

“Following a national search, which attracted many highly-qualified candidates across the country, we are excited to announce Bryan Hodgson as our head men’s basketball coach,” said Purinton. “We visited with a variety of outstanding coaches from multiple levels, but we ultimately identified Bryan as the perfect fit for our program and community.

“He possesses well-rounded experience with a successful coaching and recruiting background. Bryan has also been very involved with all operational aspects of collegiate programs while working his way from a junior college coach to the highest level of Division I. I had the opportunity to work with him at Alabama and get to know him as a coach and person. He is a strong communicator who cares deeply about his student-athletes and puts them in the best position to succeed on the court and in the classroom.

An introductory press conference open to the public will be held early next week on a day to be announced at a later time.

Bryan Hodgson. Photo by Kent Ridley.

Recently rated as the second highest recruiter nationally by 247Sports.com, Hodgson played a role in recruiting top-15 classes each of the last four seasons in Tuscaloosa. Alabama, a top overall seed in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, has posted a 92-41 record, advancing to the Sweet 16 twice in three-straight appearances at the NCAA Tournament since Hodgson joined head coach Nate Oats in Tuscaloosa. In total, Hodgson brings 15-plus seasons of collegiate coaching experience to Jonesboro, including six of the last seven NCAA Tournaments and a combined 15-2 record in Division I conference tournaments.

“I am both thrilled and honored to be the head men’s basketball coach at Arkansas State,” said Hodgson. “I want to thank Jeff Purinton, Dr. (Chuck) Welch and Dr. (Todd) Shields for this fantastic opportunity and entrusting me to lead this program.

“I’m looking forward to working with the outstanding administration, coaches and student-athletes at Arkansas State, as well as being very involved in the Jonesboro community. Along with my staff and our players, we will work tirelessly to build the success, profile and brand of A-State Basketball.”

Arkansas State University System President Chuck Welch said there was widespread interest in the job and several worthy candidates were under consideration.

“Our deliberations always led us back to Bryan Hodgson. We heard from head coaches and college basketball analysts across the nation, and they all said the same thing, ‘Bryan Hodgson is the real deal, he is a world-class talent evaluator and recruiter, and he is ready to lead his own program.’ His commitment to analytics and strong communication skills certainly convinced me that Bryan Hodgson is the right guy to be our next head basketball coach,” Welch said.

Alabama finished the 2020-21 campaign ranked fifth in the final Associated Press poll, highest in program history at the time. The Crimson Tide’s 26 overall wins were the second-most in school history, while the Sweet 16 appearance in the 2021 NCAA Tournament was the first for Alabama in 17 years. Alabama clinched its first regular season title in 19 years and captured the SEC Tournament title for the first time in 30 years.

In addition to ranking as one of the top recruiters in collegiate basketball, Hodgson was named to The Athletic’s Top-25 up-and-coming coaches and one of the top 50 Most Impactful High Major Assistant Coaches. He was invited to participate in the prestigious 2020 TopConnect Seminar which identifies the top assistants in the country and connects them with mid-major athletic directors. Previously, Hodgson was one of 30 assistant coaches named to the 2016 Under Armour 30-under-30 Team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

A western New York native, Hodgson served as an assistant coach from 2010-13 at Jamestown Community College. In his time at JCC, he coached 14 players who received scholarships to four-year schools after their graduation while nine were all-region players.

Hodgson played collegiately for two seasons at Jamestown CC, serving as a two-year captain, before heading to Fredonia State. While at Fredonia State, he served as an assistant coach and earned his undergraduate degree in sports management in 2011. He later earned his masters degree in education from the University of the Southwest in 2015.