IX AT 50: Andrea Hudy lifts KU MBB for 15 years, empowers women in the weight room

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 11:00 PM CDT
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June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed Title IX into law, prohibiting sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. Title IX has largely been considered the springboard for high school and collegiate women’s sports to get where they are today — but the fight for equality is far from over. Every Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. leading up to the 50th anniversary of the law’s passing, 13 Sports will honor the women who changed the game for girls’ and women’s sports in Kansas.

“IX at 50: The Trailblazers of Women’s Sports in Kansas”

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - After helping three UCONN teams win eight national championships in just under a decade, Andrea Hudy heard the phone ring in the summer of 2004.

“Lou Perkins called and said, ‘Would you like to come out?’” Hudy recalls.

On the other end: an offer to serve as the KU men’s basketball team’s head strength and conditioning coach.

But not everyone was on board.

“Coach (Bill) Self didn’t want to hire a woman,” Hudy said. “He told me that to my face and said it publicly. I was just like, you know what? I don’t know what to say. All I can do is my best. And it took a while I think for him to understand that.”

“Even from the other teams or whatever: ‘Oh, you got a woman as a coach, blah, blah, blah,’” she continued. “The guys stuck up for me, you know, so they were very much like, ‘Alright, let’s go.’ So that was cool. I heard it from fans. I heard it from other players.”

Hudy’s response came in the form of results.

In her 15 year tenure in Lawrence, she helped produce 35 NBA Draft picks — 11 of them lottery selections.

The Jayhawks reached nine Sweet Sixteens, three Final Fours, and won their fifth-ever National Championship in 2008.

“I was so nervous about it when I hired her,” Self told 13 Sports in 2016. “I hadn’t seen that, that wasn’t popular then. To us, she’s the best. There’s nobody that could make a case that there’s anyone better.”

“You have to be prepared to outwork, outsmart, go above and beyond, do whatever you need to do to get the job done,” Hudy said. “I’ve always felt that I had to be better. I have to be better than the guys even to get to the playing field that they’re on. You have to be better and still they look at you differently. So it is what it is. And I’ve learned to deal with it.”

Hudy was named the National College Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association in 2013.

She earned the NSCA’s Impact Award four years later, which is given to someone “whose career has greatly contributed to the advancement of the national or international strength and conditioning or fitness industries.”

“I did it my way. I did it the right way. I did it with integrity. I did it with hard work,” Hudy said. “It wasn’t just about lifting weights. That’s like the last thing that I care about. It’s about building a better athlete, building a better person and being a part of something that’s bigger than myself.”

Though progress has been made, Hudy says women still have a long way to go in the field.

“Probably within the last three years, I see a lot more women being elevated in the field. They’re not elevated to the high paying jobs, you know, financially it’s not the same at all, but they are being elevated,” she said. “We are being elevated, but it’s still not to a good standard because I know a lot of great women’s coaches who can coach men, who can coach women. Yeah, the opportunity is there, but it’s not equal.”

Hudy left Lawrence in 2019 to join Texas’s staff. This season, she accepted a position back at her alma mater with the highly-decorated UCONN women’s basketball team.

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