Hodgson Shines In 1st Year As HC

Jamestown HS Graduate Has Arkansas State In CBI

Arkansas State University head coach Bryan Hodgson was named a finalist for the Joe B. Hall Award and received a contract extension this week. Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Athletics

A scroll through the Arkansas State University men’s basketball website tells in great detail what kind of week Bryan Hodgson has had.

On Tuesday, he was named a finalist for the Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year head coach in Division I.

Two days later, Arkansas State Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Jeff Purinton announced that Hodgson had signed a new agreement that extends his contract through March 31, 2029.

And, at 1 p.m. today, the 2005 Jamestown High School graduate will lead the Red Wolves into the Ro College Basketball Invitational at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. Their opponent will be Bethune-Cookman, whose campus is right around the corner from the arena.

To Hodgson, though, it makes little difference the time or place — he’s comfortable anywhere when it comes to hoops.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” he told The Post-Journal on Friday afternoon. “Maybe the best 12 months of my life. It’s right up there, for sure.”


Hodgson’s journey to this point has been well-chronicled. He began his coaching career at SUNY Fredonia (2007-10) and Jamestown Community College (2010-13), and after two years at Midland (Texas) College, he arrived at the University at Buffalo, helping the Bulls to three Mid-American Conference titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances. When Nate Oats left UB to take the head coaching job at Alabama, Hodgson went with him to Tuscaloosa and success followed.

And exactly a year ago yesterday, he was announced as Arkansas State’s new head coach.

To say that it’s worked out would be a huge understatement.

Despite battling injuries that sidelined multiple players for all or part of the season, the Red Wolves (18-16) made it to the Sun Belt Conference tournament championship game for the first time since 2007, won 10 of their last 13 games and earned their first postseason appearance since 1999.

“Obviously when you move over one seat to the head coaching position, a lot changes,” he said. ” … It’s a little more stressful, losses hurt a little bit more and wins feel a little bit better. I’m excited about the great group of young men we were able to assemble in year one. It was a combination of not only keeping some of the returners here, but also recruiting a great first recruiting class that was able to help us get to the postseason at Arkansas State for the first time in 25 years.”

All of that impressed the decision makers at the school.

“The growth of the men’s basketball program in only one year under Bryan’s leadership has been remarkable,” Purinton said in a statement on the Red Wolves’ athletics website. “Not only did we very quickly see significant competitive improvement in our program itself, but Bryan’s positive engagement with our community, combined with the success our team has enjoyed this year has re-energized our fanbase.”

Hodgson knows a thing or two about energy.

Long recognized as one of the nation’s top recruiters, he looks to have another talented group joining the Arkansas State program for the 2024-25 season, including a 6-foot-11 big man from Atlanta who is the first-ever top-100 recruit in school history.

Added together, Hodgson’s resume continues to draw admirers from all corners, which led to being named a Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year finalist and the recipient of a contract extension.

“Both are phenomenal things and things I’m proud of,” Hodgson said. “The Joe B. Hall Award is more of a team award. They list individuals, but without my assistants, my staff and the players I’m not winning anything.

“The contract extension is the same thing. When you have really good basketball players, you tend to be a good coach.”


Arkansas State is the No. 4 seed in the 15-team Ro CBI Invitational. Bethune-Cookman (17-16), coached by former NBA star Reggie Theus, is No. 13.

“It was great to get a four seed,” Hodgson said. “The downside is we’re playing the home team. … They don’t have any travel involved and they play in this arena several times a year. … They are a well-coached team … and they have some high-major transfers. This isn’t going to be a typical low-seed, high-seed matchup. We’re going to have to play well to beat them. We’re down some bodies. We had a couple guys go into the transfer portal to try and get some more minutes elsewhere.”

Should the Red Wolves be victorious, they will meet the winner of Montana and Presbyterian.

No matter the outcome, however, Hodgson has already been a big winner.

“I get to go to work every day with my best friends and coach a great group of young men, and it’s just been a blessing,” Hodgson said.


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