Bryan Hodgson introduced as Arkansas State head men’s basketball coach

The 36-year-old was introduced as Arkansas State's new head men's basketball coach Monday.
The 36-year-old was introduced as Arkansas State's new head men's basketball coach Monday.(KAIT-TV)
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 11:36 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2023 at 4:04 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The new leader of the hardwood pack is bringing a ‘blue collar’ brand of basketball to Jonesboro. Former Alabama and Buffalo assistant Bryan Hodgson was introduced Monday afternoon in front of a packed Centennial Bank Athletics Operations Center.

“This is a monumental day for A-State athletics,” Vice Chancellor of Intercollegiate Athletics Jeff Purinton said. “I initially wrote down exciting, but this is bigger than that. The fact is we’ve only been to one NCAA Tournament in school history. That’s the same number that Buffalo had been to before Nate Oats and Bryan Hodgson got there. We want to set the bar higher at Arkansas State, where we can compete for conference championships and go to the NCAA Tournament on an annual basis.”

Purinton, System President Dr. Chuck Welch and Chancellor Dr. Todd Shields detailed what stood out about Hodgson in the interview process. Purinton said there was “a ton” of interest in the open position and candidates included both current and former head coaches.

But Hodgson’s name kept sticking out.

“My favorite story from the entire search process is I got a call from [Michigan head coach] Juwan Howard,” Welch said. “He said, ‘man I want to tell you, y’all need to hire coach Bryan.’ And I said, ‘well, coach, tell me why?’ And he said, ‘well, we’ve recruited about four of the same players over the last few years and he has kicked my tail every single time.’”

Purinton added he talked with Alabama head basketball coach Nate Oats, New Orleans Pelicans forward Herb Jones and ESPN’s Jay Bilas, all had raving reviews for Hodgson.

“We talked to outstanding candidates and Bryan really separated himself as we went through that process,” Purinton said. “He has a plan for developing student-athletes, both as players as well as people... Some of the priorities for me in terms of what we wanted in this hire [were] leadership, culture, ability to relate to our players, style of play, understanding of the recruiting, transfer portal, [Name, Image and Likeness deals]. We had to make the right hire but we had to move quickly because the transfer portal has changed what college basketball is today. I thought here, fit and community engagement is a big part of it. I wanted someone who would get out in our community and relate to the people of Jonesboro and northeast Arkansas and Bryan is that person.”

Hodgson, a New York native, took the podium and explained how his upbringing developed his basketball philosophy.

“I’m from a blue-collar town in western New York, Jamestown, New York, which is full of humble, hard-working people,” Hodgson said. “And from everything that I’ve gathered so far and heard about the city of Jonesboro, this city has a lot of those same qualities. We’re going to play a fast, analytically efficient style of basketball. A lot like the NBA plays. But while playing fast, we’re also going to be disciplined.”

The 36-year-old closed out the press conference by mentioning the four values he looks to employ as head coach: Gratitude, truth, toughness and loyalty.

“I believe that being a basketball coach is more than calling plays and making substitutions,” Hodgson said. “It’s about being a mentor, a leader, a role model for your players.”

Hodgson will make $10,000 more than previous head coach Mike Balado, signing a 5-year deal worth $385,000 per season, with several incentives. He will earn bonuses if the team wins the regular season conference championship, makes the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. He also has several bonuses listed for selling over 3,000 season ticket packages, academic success, being ranked in the Top 25, among others.

Hodgson spent four seasons as Alabama assistant coach, the 31-6 Crimson Tide was the overall number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, making it to the Sweet 16. Alabama guard Jahvon Quinerly is thrilled that Hodgson gets a D1 opportunity. “I’m so happy for coach,” Quinerly said in a press conference. “That’s who recruited me when I decided to transfer from Villanova. I’m super happy for him. Since he’s gotten to Alabama, he’s brought great players in. Obviously we’ve been winning a lot more. And I couldn’t be more happy for him.”

The Alabama to Arkansas State connection continues. Hodgson joins Purinton and A-State head football coach Butch Jones as people who made the move from Tuscaloosa to Jonesboro.

Hodgson had assistant coach stops at Buffalo (2015-19), Midland (TX) College (2014-15), and Jamestown Community College (2010-2013). He garnered national recognition for bringing in talent, Hodgson is currently ranked #10 on 247Sports list of top recruiters, a list he finished second on in 2022 and sixth in 2020. The Athletic profiled him in 2019 as an up-and-coming coach.

He also served as general manager of Blue Collar U for several summers in The Basketball Tournament. They reached the semifinals in 2021 and won the championship in 2022.

The Red Wolves are the 2nd Sun Belt school this offseason to hire a Crimson Tide assistant to lead their basketball program. Georgia Southern hired Charlie Henry earlier this month.

Additional details:

If Hodgson resigns or leaves to take another position during his A-State tenure, the following amounts will be paid to the Red Wolves Foundation:

  • If he leaves during Year 1: $1.25 million
  • Year 2: $750,000
  • Year 3: $300,000
  • Year 4: $200,000
  • Year 5: $0

If Hodgson is fired, the buyout details are as follows:

  • Year 1-3 of contract: “unpaid and remaining Guaranteed Compensation for the remainder of the contract term”
  • Year 4: A-State will pay the “remaining amount owed... subject to your duty to mitigate by finding comparable other employment” and $200,000 “will not be subject to any mitigation obligation”
  • Year 5: A-State will pay the “remaining amount owed... subject to your duty to mitigate.”

Bonus breakdown:

  • $5,000 if A-State makes the Top 25 in either the AP Poll or the Coaches Poll (paid once per season).
  • $5,000 if A-State beats a ranked opponent.
  • $5,000 if A-State finishes a season inside the NET top 60.
  • $5,000 if at least 3,000 season tickets are sold in a season.
  • $5,000 per year that A-State’s Academic Performance Rate (APR) is at 980 or above.
  • $10,000 if A-State wins the regular season conference title but misses the NCAA Tournament.
  • $10,000 if Hodgson is named the conference coach of the year (including if the award is shared).
  • $12,000 if A-State makes the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), with a $5,000 bonus with each win in the event.
  • $20,000 if A-State makes the NCAA Tournament without winning the regular season conference championship.
  • $25,000 if Hodgson is named National Coach of the Year (including if the award is shared).
  • $25,000 if A-State wins the regular season conference title and makes the NCAA Tournament. He will earn an additional $25,000 per NCAA Tournament win.
  • $385,000 if Arkansas State makes and wins the NCAA Tournament.

The initial terms of agreement can be found here.