Guthrie High School Head Tennis Coach Mary Hudson will be inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Tennis Association Hall of Fame today at the Quail Creek Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City.
She is one of seven members that will be inducted this year. Coaches are inducted based on their contribution to high school tennis, community and the state along with honors they have received in their career.
Joining Hudson in the 2019 Hall of Fame Class is: Rusty Bradley (Muskogee), David Diefenderfer (Putnam City North), Pat Heidlage (Clarmore), Robert Meek (Ardmore), Alan Simpson (Byng), Phil Veazey (Clinton).
Starting out at Stillwater High School in 1980, Hudson became the tennis coach at Guthrie in 2000. She became the high school coach in 2003. For almost two decades, Hudson has exemplified what it means to be not only a fantastic coach, but also an incredible mentor in the Guthrie community.
“As a colleague and now as the athletic director, we are extremely proud of Mrs. Hudson,” Athletic Director Jon Chappell said. “The time and effort she has put into the program is unmatched. It always helps when you have someone who is sold out to the community like she is. I have nothing but positive things to say about Mrs. Hudson. I still call her Mrs. Hudson if that tells you anything.”
Hudson was nominated by her peers to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. She doesn’t know who nominated her for the honor, but she is grateful to be joining some of the sports biggest names.
“I had no idea that I would be honored,” Hudson said. “I’ve enjoyed going to the ceremony in the past. Some of the coaches that have been honored before me have multiple state championships, so I’m pretty humbled that they would honor me. To see these old legends that have been inducted in the past and now I’ll be inducted, it really is quite humbling.”
Hudson says she never started coaching for the accolades or the awards. She did it because she wanted to help others learn the game of tennis, but most importantly, she wanted to make an impact in the lives of student athletes.
“The older I get, the less I care about the wins and losses,” Hudson said. “The thing I love most is when a player improves or when they realize that they’ve been throwing their toss wrong and that’s what has been affecting their serve. I love those moments. The moments where you can see the light bulb go on.”
Hudson’s influence in the Guthrie community is obvious. Once the Hall of Fame honor was announced, players from past and present flooded social media to share their congratulations and comments. As posts poured in, everything from a ‘much deserved’ to ‘she’s the best coach I’ve ever had,’ it’s evident that her impact is tangible. Her mentorship has seeped into the lives of those she has coached well into their adulthood. And while today she will receive one of the biggest honors in her coaching career, the biggest might be her every day interactions with her players.
“I love what I do,” Hudson said. “I love coaching. I’m going to keep doing it for as long as I can.”
The Hall of Fame Luncheon will start at 12:30 at 3501 Quail Creek Road in Oklahoma City, OK.