Each Friday during the 2017-18 academic year, the conference office will release a SCAC Spotlight feature story. For the first 13 weeks, the focus of these feature stories will be former student-athletes who played at an SCAC institution and went on to become head coaches in the conference.
In this, the sixth SCAC Spotlight feature, we sit down with Austin College's head men's soccer coach Mark Hudson.
Growing up in Danville, Kentucky, Centre College was the last place Mark Hudson wanted to go to college. Hudson wanted to see what else was out there while continuing his soccer career and gaining a quality education. But Hudson realized Centre had everything he was looking for in a college stretching from the high academics, a beautiful campus, and a competitive conference and program for his soccer skills. Centre became his number one choice.
Hudson joined the soccer team his first year and worked his way up to team captain his junior year. That same year, Hudson lead the Colonels to their first NCAA tournament appearance, then repeated that same feat the next year. Those two years were Hudson’s favorite memories of Centre College.
“Back to back NCAA tournaments was fantastic,” Hudson said. “I think having the opportunity to compete in the NCAA tournament representing a school that I absolutely loved and a program that I absolutely loved and to do it two consecutive years as a captain, you can’t beat that.”
Hudson knew he always wanted to stay with the game and took multiple coaching jobs across the country and across the sea.
Hudson finally accepted a head coaching positon at Austin College just one year after the Roos joined the SCAC. Besides Texas being a big recruiting state for soccer, Hudson was excited to drive the program to new heights. He knew what the SCAC could bring to him and what he could bring back to the conference he once played for.
From being a player to now coaching, Hudson preps his athletes for the tight competition within the SCAC teams each season.
“When you play an SCAC team, it’s going to be a tough game,” Hudson said. “We talk about having to bring in you’re a-game, game in and game out. No matter where somebody is ranked nationally or regionally or within the conference, when you play an SCAC team you know it’s going to be a tough game. To have that mindset you have to know that you can’t take any games off, any days off, and approach each team the same way.”
Hudson takes what he learned as a student-athlete and applies it to his coaching philosophy. While the SCAC has undergone many changes since Hudson was a student, he still believes what he learned in the SCAC has stuck with him.
“You can’t help but learn,” Hudson said. “For me, to be able to say that I was an SCAC athlete and the things that I was able to experience in this conference, it does get vocalized to my guys and communicated to them so they know I’ve been there.”
Hudson’s tenure at Austin College hit double digits this past season as he just finished his 11th season with the ‘Roos. He believes Austin College has been the best fit.
“I think there’s just a desire and drive to get us where I believe we can be as a program,” Hudson said. “I love Austin College as an academic institution and the department. The people I work with and for are fantastic and it’s just been a good place.”
Previous SCAC Spotlights:
11|10|2017 - Matt Barber, University of Dallas
10|20|2017 - Jeherme Urban, Trinity University
10|13|2017 - David Foley, Centenary College
10|06|2017 - Emily Daum, Trinity University
09|29|2017 - Ryan Dodd, Austin College