Arkansas State picks “Blue Collar” Bryan Hodgson for head basketball coach

Alabama assistant to Nate Oats seizes opportunity as Red Wolves head coach

Arkansas State announced that Bryan Hodgson, an assistant from #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, as the program’s latest head men’s basketball coach. A native of New York, the 36-year-old Hodgson joined the University of Buffalo basketball team’s staff in 2015. In 2019, Hodgson joined head coach Nate Oats’s staff at Alabama as the lead recruiter.

“Following a national search, which attracted many highly-qualified candidates across the country, we are excited to announce Bryan Hodgson as our head men’s basketball coach,” said Purinton per a released from A-State Athletics. “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.

According the Crimson Tide’s men’s basketball staff website, Hodgson “helped lead a resurgence in the Alabama men’s basketball program, transitioning the Crimson Tide into one of the top two-way teams in the nation.”

The site highlights a number of Hodgson’s credentials, including: “In addition to ranking as one of the top recruiters in collegiate basketball, Hodgson was named to The Athletic’s Top-25 up-and-coming college basketball coaches and one top the top 50 Most Impactful High Major Assistant Coaches. He was invited to participate in the prestigious 2020 TopConnect Seminar which identifies the top assistants in the country and connects them with mid-major Athletic Directors. Previously, Hodgson was one of 30 assistants named to the 2016 Under Armour 30-under-30 Team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

In addition to his recruiting prowess, Hodgson is also known for his ability to develop talent. During his four seasons at Buffalo, nearly every player on the roster made tremendous strides on the court, none more so than 2019 MAC Player of the Year CJ Massinburg, who finished his career as a three-time All-MAC honoree and second in school history with 1,990 career points and 273 career treys. He went on to be named an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press as a senior.”

“Blue Collar” is a term often to describe both the heavily bearded Hodgson and the Oats-led Alabama basketball team, which internally launched a Hard Hat award given to players who accumulate the most “blue collar points” on a game-by-game basis. Blue Collar points are comprised of basic box score categories plus a few hardscrabble integers like Floor Dives, Charges, and Loose Balls Secured. Oats and Hodgson first launched the Hard Hat Award during their days with Buffalo.

Hodgson inherits a roster that has seen six players enter the Portal at the time of this writing.

Bryan Hodgson replaces six-year head coach Mike Balado, who was released following a 13-20 season. Hodgson inherits a roster that features at least five players currently in the transfer portal, including starters Caleb Fields, Terrence Ford Jr. and Izaiyah Nelson.


The Red Wolves Athletics Department put forth a release featuring a number of endorsements, but here’s one from Juwan Howard.

“Bryan is a perfect hire for Arkansas State. He’s helped build Alabama’s basketball program to one of the best in the country. I’m excited that I had a chance to speak on behalf of Bryan after witnessing his work ethic, passion for teaching/developing and his love for people. Arkansas State will shine with Coach B’s leadership!”

— Juwan Howard Michigan Head Coach – 2x NBA Champion

Howlraiser’s Lava Take

Hodgson, a success story from the foster care system, is the kind of hardscrabble, tough work-ethic presence Arkansas State basketball fans will likely identify with and appreciate. His work with Nate Oats at both Buffalo and Alabama appears to translate into exceptional basketball. While many fans was hoping to acquire a coach with head coaching experience, Hodgson brings a rolled-sleeves presence that will hopefully rub off on the team.

Additionally, Hodgson has made a reputation for recruiting, a skill that will be put to the test at Arkansas State, which has’t bore a significant basketball presence since Hoop Dreams was released in 1994.

We give this hire a 3.5 out of 5 Claws.

PHOTO CREDIT: Marvin Gentry, USA TODAY Sports


The Mayor of Bono likes what he sees