Leader of the Pack: Hudak formally approved as first head football coach of Hammond Central Wolves
When Adam Hudak resigned at Wheeler, he hoped it wouldn't be the end of his time on a football sideline.
"I wanted to continue coaching," he said.
A little over a month since, he's back in the saddle again, having been formally named the head coach at Hammond Central, a consolidation of Hammond high schools that will open in August.
"It's a new school, a new facility, it's an exciting time for everybody," Hudak said. "I'm honored to be the first head coach. It's the kids' program. I'm just going to help lead the way."
Hudak will forever be the Wolves first coach, but he was interested in the job for reasons beyond that.
"The potential is there," he said. "I wouldn't be so excited if I didn't feel like we could do something. Any time I make a coaching decision, I talk to (former Lowell) coach (Kirk) Kennedy. I talked to (Lowell coach) Keith Kilmer. He's a big mentor. I talked to Nick Testa. He coached at Clark. I tried to find out what people were thinking of the job and most of them think the potential is there. It's a huge opportunity. You just have to do the ground work."
The school will play in Class 5A, a jump for the former Lake Station and Wheeler coach.
"Moving up to 5A football, it's always where you want to be, coaching against the best," he said. "The same as Lake Station and Wheeler, I like to challenge myself. What I'm excited the most about is the numbers, having a bigger roster. I've always wanted to be able to platoon, not have guys go both ways. Short-term, you want to play games at the end of the season that matter, playing for a conference championship, and long-term, playing games in November, sectional, regional championships. That's always a goal."
Part of the uniqueness of the situation is Hudak knows little of what the make-up of his team will be. He'll get his first clue at a meet-and-greet for all the coaches the next two Fridays.
"We've got to really see what we have first before we have an idea of what we think we can do," Hudak said. "Summer's coming fast. We've got to meet the team, get a staff together, and it's full speed ahead. It'll be a fun atmosphere. I've always worked under the premise that less is more. We won't run them into the ground. We want to have them fresh and
fast for Friday nights."
The Lowell and Valparaiso University graduate went 6-16 in two seasons at Lake Station and 20-21 in four years at Wheeler, including a 7-4 finish in 2020.
"As we've moved on, every year, our teams got better, more competitive," Hudak said. "I think I've grown as a football coach. I want to thank Wheeler, too. They helped me advance in my teaching."
Hudak's teaching position at Hammond Central is to be determined.
He is in the process of putting together a staff that he hopes will have some background coaching in the Hammond area.
"Obviously, you want some people who know the ins and outs," Hudak said.