End of an Era

After 23 years, Coach Hudson announces retirement from coaching girls varsity basketball


Emily Straetz

Varsity girls basketball coach Jeff Hudson helps his team wrap up their prelim win over Belfast on February 15, marking the end of a 23 year career on the PIHS home court sidelines. Hudson believes there will never be a better gym than this one. “My favorite gym to play in is PIHS. It was a great place and we had an incredible record there,” Hudson said. “It created a lot of excitement and a huge home court advantage.”

Cassidy Carlisle, Staff Writer

After almost three decades of spending his winters in a gym, PIHS girls varsity head basketball coach Jeff Hudson has decided it’s time to be done. After five years coaching at Limestone, Hudson has spent the last 23 years coaching the Wildcats. In that time he has won three state titles, as well as went on a 64 game winning streak. But these were not his only accomplishments. As reported in the Bangor Daily News, Hudsons win-loss record was 361-102, meaning his teams won nearly 79 percent of their games, and he coached seven 1,000 point scorers.

In addition to his stats, SAD 1 athletic director Mark White praises Hudson for his approach to coaching individuals, not just teams. “Hudson was the kind of coach who coached the bottom five as hard as he coached the top five,” White said. “And that’s an expectation I have for all my coaches; whether the student is the super star, or as I like to say, the Mark White, they all deserve a coach’s attention.”


One of Hudson’s former players, Krystal (Kingsbury) Flewelling ’15, trusts that Hudson did more than just coach a team; he grew a program like no other. “Coach Hudson started a program that girls grew up wanting to be part of. You worked hard in middle school and put the time in because you wanted to play for him,” Flewelling said. “His standards for his players were incredibly high, and he expected nothing less than your best in practices and in games. He is a big reason why we are known around the state for always bringing a competitive team to the league.”


Assistant coach Dillon Kingsbury says Hudson has shown so many what it takes to be a true PIHS athlete. “Coach Hudson is the true definition of what it means to be a Wildcat,” said Kingsbury. “He has influenced me along with so many different people throughout his coaching career. He has taught me that holding a high standard for not only your team but also for yourself paves the way for success.” 

Hudson embraces this connection to what it means to be a PI Wildcat. “It means everything to me to be a Wildcat. I played basketball and baseball in high school. I loved it then and love it now,” Hudson said. “As a player I thought it was special, and I tried to make sure it was special for my teams.”


Billi (Blanchard) Griffeth ’03, says Hudson was the light of many of his players’ days during the basketball season. “Some of the best celebratory memories I have are when we’d show up to practice after a big win, he would act all mad – made us think we were really in for a hard 90 minute practice – then, he’d do a 180, tell a joke and let us have an ‘easy practice,’” Griffeth said. “There were few practices in my four years that didn’t include laughter.  I recognize how that laughter and joy he brought to the team may have been the only bright light that day for some players.  For those teammates that would use basketball to escape hardships in their personal lives, Coach was always there to make them smile, laugh, and most importantly, have purpose.”

Flewelling says her most memorable moment with Hudson happened at the start of one season. “He wrote the date of the state championship game on the whiteboard at the first practice,” said Kingsbury. “Then he said, ‘We have plans that day.’  And we went on to win the state championship on that very date.”

Very few people get to experience winning a gold ball, but even fewer people get to experience hitting the 1,000 career point mark. Faith Sjoberg ’22 believes out of her four year career, her most memorable moment with Coach Hudson happened this year. “Even though this happened quite recently, my most memorable moment with the coach was after I scored my 1,000th point. As much as it meant to me, it seemed to be just as meaningful for him,” Sjoberg said. “Just seeing his reaction, and the emotion that came with it, was a very special moment. It reminded me of all the work I had put in with him up to that point, which made it all possible.”


Ask any player and they’ll recall their favorite Hudson expressions. 

Faith Sjoberg: “‘Don’t be a robot,’ is a classic. It basically means don’t be predictable.” Also, “‘Be a hotdog,’ I’m not really sure what that one meant, but nevertheless it made me laugh really hard, and I’m sure if Coach was saying it, it had an inspirational meaning.” 

Krystal Flewelling: “‘Winning is a habit,’ or of course when he did his foot stomp.”

Billi Griffeth: “Hard tellin’ not knowin’,” “Sea-chicken,” “Hotsy Totsy,” “Girls, you’ve got to at least jump high enough so this itty bitty phone book could fit under your feet,” “I hope you’re in school today because you need MATH!,” “FIFTAY,” and “It’s not brain surgery!”

Jorja Maynard ’24: “Taken care of business,” “T.C.B,” and “Hip to hip.”

Rossalyn Buck ‘23: “A win is a win is a win.”


You would think that as a coach games would be the most exciting part of a season. But Hudson presumes the games will be one thing he actually won’t miss as much next year. “I will probably miss all of it, except maybe the games. The more you win, the more people expect you to win and I felt that. It wasn’t always easy,” Hudson said. “But most of all I’ll miss the fun, foolish and stupid stuff with the players. There are so many funny moments over the course of a year, and I will miss those times.”

For a coach who has spent the last 28 winters in a gym, what does the next winter possibly look like for Hudson? “I really don’t know what I am going to do next winter, but it will be nice to have a little more freedom with my time,” he said. “I have kids who live away and a brother in Massachusetts so maybe I will see them a little more. People don’t understand it, but basketball basically consumes a coach’s thoughts for the majority of the year. It will be nice to just enjoy watching the games and not having to think about it.”

Hudson led the program so effectively, and White feels he will never be able to find a coach like Hudson – nor does he necessarily want to. “The last thing I expect for the next coach is to be a Jeff Hudson clone,” said White. “This next person has to make the program his or hers and gear it towards their own individual strengths, weaknesses, and personality. I want this new person to feel comfortable in their own skin.”


Lastly, coach Hudson wants to make sure his players know how they affected his coaching experience. “I just want to thank all my players over the years for making this a great experience,” Hudson said. “It’s not so much the basketball that I loved, but the players that I coached. I have worked with an incredible number of great athletes, but I have coached even better kids. I was very lucky in that they all listened to me, believed in what I was saying, and bought into our program. I will miss them. They made it all possible.”