By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Blake Hudson provided a five-word response when asked about his recent hiring as the girls head basketball coach at Etowah High School.
“I am a blessed man.”
Hudson, who served as assistant boys varsity coach, head middle school coach and head junior varsity coach under current EHS boys head basketball coach James Graves over the past 14 years, is also the school’s track and field coach.
“I love the Blue Devils and I love basketball,” said Hudson, who played basketball at Etowah from 1996-1999. “I wasn’t blessed with a lot of athletic ability, but I had the ‘want to’ and I had the desire. I played hard and I hustled, and I was and still am a student of the game.”
Hudson takes over a program that has struggled over the past few seasons but showed improvement last year by finishing as area tournament runner-up and competing in the sub-regional playoffs.
“I’m going to try to provide consistency and lead by example,” he said. “These girls have had something like three or four head coaches in three years, so they’ve been bounced around from coach to coach. We also want to get a culture established in working hard and doing things the right way. Since I started working with the girls, I’ve noticed that they’re eager to please and show you that they want to be coached and want to do things the correct way.”
Hudson pointed out that the program’s cupboard is far from bare in terms of numbers and talent .
“We have a couple of girls who will be sophomores who will be big contributors and we’ve got a girl from the middle who played varsity last season who’ll be a big contributor. We also started a freshman, Abby Martin, who started every game last season, so we’re going to be okay.”
For the second straight year, the Lady Blue Devils will share Class 5A, Area 12 with Southside and Alexandria. Hudson thinks his Lady Blue Devils can hold their own in 2019-20.
“These Etowah girls have the ability to be pretty good. We’re going to get up and down the floor and be a fun team to watch. I told our girls that we’re going to run, gun and have fun. If we get the ball off a turnover, we’re going to punish [the other team] for it.”
Scott Elkins and Katie Bowman will be the assistant coaches.