Cody Dudley takes on the role of Northeast Girls’ Basketball Coach
FOUNTAIN CITY, Ind. – The Northeast basketball players arrived at practice – their last open gym of the summer – on Monday, June 27, and read the schedule. It looked different.
“We were all expecting a conditioning practice,” said sophomore Ava Mikesell. ‘We were like, ‘Why is this two and a half hours?’”
That’s when head coach Cody Dudley walked in. He had a surprise for his team. The Knights had no practice that day. They were going to the cinema.
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“They were out of the gym before I could even finish telling them,” Dudley said with a laugh. “They were loaded, ready to go, and they took off. It was awesome. We had a lot of fun.”
Decked out in their practice clothes, the Knights went to see “Top Gun: Maverick,” which Dudley said was “so good.” Over the next two hours, they watched a movie filled with team-building moments, which ironically was exactly what they were doing at the time.
It was just what they needed after an intense month filled with tournaments, scrums and open gyms.
“We did a lot, they put in a lot of work and I’m super proud of the effort,” Dudley said. “We just decided to create a little team bond and give them some breathing room. I know they are tired because we pushed them hard, but it was a good day.
Three days later, Northeastern wrapped up their summer schedule with a 5-1 performance at the Blue River Shootout, which also wrapped up Dudley’s first month seeing their new team in action.
Shortly after the 2021-22 basketball season, Sara Mayo left the girls’ head coach position at Northeastern to pursue her master’s degree in instructional supervision and leadership. Shortly after, Dudley’s phone began to explode.
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Dudley had just completed his sixth season as the boys’ assistant coach at Seton Catholic. All this time he was looking for a head coaching job. A few years ago, he was a finalist for the boys’ position at Union City. He has also been a runner-up for the Centerville Boys’ position for the past two years. Each time, the schools took a different direction.
He didn’t even notice the Northeast girls opening up until people started reaching out to him.
“Honestly, I never really considered coaching girls,” Dudley said. “People kept asking me, ‘Are you going to apply?’ The more I really got into it, the more I was like, ‘How did I not see that?’ At the end of the day, basketball is basketball… It’s just a really, really unique opportunity.
And it makes sense. Dudley’s two children are in the North East school system, he is friends with many parents of North East players and he would take over a team that had made it to the Division Championship game each of the past four years.
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On top of all that, Dudley is a Student Resource Officer at Community Schools in Richmond. “It was always weird” that he worked for Richmond, coached at Seton and had kids at Northeastern. This new opportunity would put at least two of these pieces in the same place.
Dudley applied and was officially named head coach of the Knights Girls’ Basketball on April 20.
“I think Cody will do a great job,” North East boys basketball coach Brent Ross said. “He deserves a chance to be a head coach. This is his first head coaching job, I think it’s a perfect opportunity for him to step in and implement his system from what he learned with a successful stint under the coach Jurgens to Seton.
Seton head coach Josh Jurgens welcomed Dudley to his team in 2016, and thinking about all his experiences since then made Dudley’s decision difficult. He finally found his perfect script, but he still had to leave a squad full of players who saw him more as a friend than a coach.
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Dudley broke the news to his former players a few weeks before the official announcement at their open gym, but he assured them he wasn’t going too far, just an 8-mile drive from US-27 . He also made sure not to forget about Jurgens, who gave him his first coaching opportunity in high school.
“Josh brought me into his program with open arms,” Dudley said. “He’s really allowed me to grow as an assistant under him. I just really want to make sure I give him credit for his support.
Jurgens called Dudley a “basketball maniac” and said he had no doubt he would do a “remarkable” job at Northeastern. He also joked that he was going to have to take on more responsibility now that he no longer had Dudley on the sidelines.
“He’s been looking for something like this for a while, and he’s totally ready for it,” Jurgens said. “A few feet above makes a big difference on that bench, and now he has to take the big spot…I’m happier for him as a friend than as a coach because I know he’s been waiting for a moment and he wanted the right fit.
Dudley had a smile on his face as he talked about his new team, so it’s safe to say he’s found the right person. One of the first things he said to his players was that they had to come together as a family if they wanted to achieve what they had planned, which was to win a section title and more. .
From the way they’re handling it, you can also tell they’ve already found the right momentum.
“They’re torturing me,” Dudley joked. “Every time I turn around one of them catches me off guard and takes a picture of me with a stupid look on their face. They’re hilarious. They’re a lot of fun. They understand that when it’s time to work , it’s time to work, but when we have those little breaks, we definitely include our jokes.