School board president says personnel decision private, 'it had nothing to do with win-loss'
The North Lawrence Community School Board on Thursday announced a 4-3 decision not to renew the contract of Bedford North Lawrence boys basketball coach Jamie Hudson, and the former head man said he has a good idea why.
Hudson said Friday he believed the vote against a one-year extension was the result of a group effort by disgruntled parents to sway the board’s opinion despite internal support from BNL athletic director Jeff Callahan and principal Daniel Dyke.
“It all boils down to playing time with a group of parents,” Hudson said. “One set of parents was not very happy with me. They got their ducks in a row, and they were able to really persuade the school board not to vote for me 4-3. And that’s going against the AD and the principal, who voted for my contract to be renewed. In my nine years there, I never had one bad review from my AD, so the school board kind of went against what the administration wanted to happen.”
Head coach for nine seasons at BNL, Hudson led the Class 4-A Stars to a 107-96 record. He went 40-23 in Hoosier Hills Conference play and guided the Stars to three sectional finals in the past six seasons, with a league championship in 2011. BNL turned in a second-place finish to eventual state champion New Albany in 2016.
Board president Larry Arnold, who voted against the recommendation, made it clear the decision was not performance-related.
“There were a lot of (factors),” Arnold said. “Unfortunately, with this being a personnel decision … we can’t disclose a lot of the details.
“I will tell you it had nothing to do with win-loss.”
Arnold, who with vice president Kirsten Collier, secretary Beth Ritter and member Donnie Branham made up the four votes against the contract renewal, added the result wasn’t commonplace, at least for him.
“I’ve been on the board now for three years — and I was on six years prior to that,” Arnold said. “… This is the first time, if I remember right, that I have ever not voted to renew a coach’s contract, unless it was not recommended by the AD or the principal. So this is not something I’d consider to be normal, because I really think that’s why we have (the athletic director and high school principal) in place.”
The exact reason for his firing remains unclear, but despite Hudson’s claims, he was quick to acknowledge the bonds he built with his players during his 11 total years at BNL.
“In those nine years I’ve been blessed with a lot of great kids,” he said. “We built some great relationships that will last a lifetime. As a coach, having those relationships is more important than any win or loss or sectional title to me.”