Today's Paper Newsletters LEARNS Guide Fish Story Contest 🎣 Asa Hutchinson 2024 Today's Photos Public Notices Digital FAQ Razorback Sports Puzzles Crime Distribution Locations Obits

Arkansas State hires Alabama assistant Bryan Hodgson as men's basketball head coach

by Mitchell Gladstone | March 22, 2023 at 1:39 p.m.
Alabama assistant Bryan Hodgson (left), set to be ASU's 17th head coach in program history, has been an assistant under Coach Nate Oats since 2015 — both at Buffalo and with the Crimson Tide. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Arkansas State has put the finishing touches on the first major hire of the Jeff Purinton era.

The Red Wolves announced Wednesday afternoon that Alabama assistant coach Bryan Hodgson will come to Jonesboro and take the helm of ASU’s men’s basketball program, replacing Mike Balado. Hodgson is the second Crimson Tide assistant to be named to a head coaching position in the Sun Belt Conference this offseason, joining Charlie Henry, who was announced at Georgia Southern eight days ago.

"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," Athletic Director Jeff Purinton wrote in part in a press release.  “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. ... He has a great vision for Arkansas State basketball and the blueprint to carry it out in order to elevate our program to new heights."

Hodgson, 36, followed Alabama Coach Nate Oats from Buffalo when Oats was hired ahead of the 2019-20 season — a search process in which Purinton played a major role as the Crimson Tide’s executive associate athletic director. Prior to his time with Oats at Buffalo, Hodsgon had stints as an assistant coach at the Division III and junior college levels with Fredonia (N.Y.) State, Jamestown (N.Y.) Community College and Midland (Texas) College.

After helping Buffalo climb as high as No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 in the 2018-19 season, Hodgson has since honed his bona fides as an elite recruiter at Alabama.

He took the lead on signing five-star combo guard Josh Primo during Oats’ first complete recruiting cycle in 2020, bringing the Canadian to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for one season before sending Primo onto the NBA — he was selected 12th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2021 draft.

The following year, Hodgson led the recruiting process of big man Charles Bediako, a 6-11 four-star center who is a featured player on this year’s Alabama team that has spent a majority of the season near the top of the AP Poll and was handed the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

That Crimson Tide team, which will play San Diego State in the Sweet 16 Friday evening, is led by five-star freshman Brandon Miller,  another player for whom Hodgson was the lead recruiter. Miller, who, along with other teammates, has been in the spotlight in recent weeks for his alleged involvement in a murder, has not only clearly been Alabama’s star — he’s averaging 19.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game — but Miller has been one of the top players in the nation and could go as high as second overall in June’s NBA Draft.

“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," Hodgson wrote. "Along with my staff and our players, we will work tirelessly to build the success, profile and brand of A-State basketball.

“We will strive to not only put a winning product on the floor that our fans will enjoy watching, but also handle our business off the court and in the classroom in a manner that makes everyone proud.  There is no doubt that we have the potential for greatness here at A-State."

But when Hodgson arrives in Jonesboro after the Crimson Tide's postseason run comes to an end — either this weekend or next — he will go from working with one of the best teams in the nation to a team that barely escaped the Sun Belt basement last season. The Red Wolves won two of their last three regular-season games to finish 13th in the conference before going out in the second round of the conference tournament.

In Balado’s six seasons, ASU never won more than the 18 games it did in 2021-22 with a pair of soon-to-be high-major players in Norchad Omier (Miami) and Desi Sills (Kansas State). The Red Wolves have won at least 20 games just once this century and have only reached the NCAA tournament once in their Division I history, appearing in the 1999 edition.

Hodgson will have the immediate task of rebuilding a roster that has already seen five players enter the transfer portal — Caleb Fields, Terrance Ford Jr., Izaiyah Nelson, Alaaeddine Boutayeb and Caleb London  — on top of a pair of rotation players that have exhausted their eligibility in Markise Davis and Omar El-Sheikh.


Sponsor Content