Alabama Basketball to Retire Wendell Hudson's jersey

Christopher Walsh

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Wendell Hudson is used to making history. 

He's about to do it again. 

Roughly 50 years after becoming Alabama's first African-American scholarship athlete, the University of Alabama announced on Monday that Hudson will be the first Crimson Tide former player or coach to have his jersey retired.

A special ceremony will be held at halftime for the LSU at Alabama men's basketball game on Feb. 15. 

Alabama will keep his No. 20 in circulation to honor Hudson and his legacy, but it will also hang from the rafters at Coleman Coliseum, where he became one of the most decorated athletes in Crimson Tide history. 

Alabama athletes will wear a WH patch for the remainder of the winter and spring sport season, and a men’s basketball scholarship has been endowed by a donor in his honor.

Hudson was recruited by the late C.M. Newton after a stellar prep career at Parker High School in Birmingham and went on to become a member of the freshman team at Alabama during the 1969-70 season before joining the varsity ranks for the next three years.

For his career, Hudson recorded 1,768 points and 1,197 rebounds across his 93 games played for an average of 19.0 points and 12.9 rebounds.

In 1973, Hudson was named a Helms Foundation first-team and Converse first-team All-American after averaging 20.7 points and 12.1 rebounds as a senior.

That same season, he became Alabama’s first Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, leading the league in scoring. 

Hudson helped the Crimson Tide secure a second-place finish in the SEC and make its first postseason appearance in program history, advancing to the semifinals of the NIT.

Hudson was selected in the second round of the 1973 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls and also played for the ABA’s Memphis Tams. 

He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and was honored as an SEC Legend in 2000. 

Hudson was also recognized in 2000 by university with its Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award, which recognizes former athletes whose accomplishments since leaving UA are outstanding.

He also coached the Alabama women's basketball team for five seasons, from 2008-09 to 2012-13, making him the first black head coach in Crimson Tide history.