JOPLIN - Missouri Southern softball coach Bill Gray has announced the hiring of former Webb City and University of Missouri softball standout Nicole Hudson, pictured, to be the Lions' new assistant coach. Hudson will start her duties with the team in January 2014.
"Nicole Hudson is one of the premier softball players in the country," Gray said. "She was on the top of our list when our position became available and the fact that she is a southwest Missouri native is an added bonus. She has played for two of the best softball minds in the game today. With the experience she has gained playing for coach Earlywine at Missouri and coach Erikson on the national team, she will make a definite and immediate impact on Missouri Southern Softball."
Hudson was a four-year starter for the Missouri Tigers after graduating from Webb City High School. She finished her career at Missouri as one of the best hitters in the history of the program. She had 16 home runs as a senior to finish with 46 in her career, just one shy of the school record. Her .692 slugging percentage as a senior rank 11th all-time and her 16 home runs is third all-time in a single season. Her 44 walks were the second best all-time in a single season.
Altogether, Hudson ranks in the all-time top 10 in career hits (208), doubles (48), home runs (46), at-bats (654), runs scored (151), RBI (173), slugging percentage (.602) and walks (143). She helped the Tigers to back-to-back trips to the Women's College World Series in 2010 and 2011 and a Big 12 title in 2011.
A three-time All-Big 12 selection, Hudson was also a three-time All-Region pick and was a member of the United States National Softball Team that competed at the World Cup of Softball this summer, winning a silver medal. During the tournament, she hit .500 with two RBIs. She also helped Team USA to the 2013 Mayor's Cup and won a gold medal in the Pan American Games where she hit .467 with a home run and six RBIs.
At Webb City, Hudson was a four-time All-State selection for the Cardinals as a pitcher. She helped her team to a Missouri Class 4 state title in her junior season, while Webb City finished third in both her freshman and senior seasons. Also an All-State selection in basketball for the Cardinals, Hudson lettered eight times.
"I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to begin my coaching career at Missouri Southern," Hudson said. "I am excited to contribute my knowledge of the game to the program and have a positive impact on the lives of the players. And there is no better place to begin this journey than back home in southwest Missouri."
Gray said Hudson's versatility and extreme depth of experience make her an excellent addition to the coaching staff at Southern.
"Having pitched in high school and the collegiate level, having played in the infield and outfield at the collegiate level and the outfield at the international level gives her a vast knowledge to pass on to our players and the other members of our coaching staff."
Current Lions' senior Shelby Romines the players are extremely happy to see the addition of Hudson.
"I was excited to found out that she will be our new assistant coach," Romines said. She has so much experience and can carry it over to our practices and games. She has learned, been coached by and has played with some of the best and she can relate to us as players on and off the field."