Head coach Jeff Judkins reached an impressive career landmark win after 19 seasons with BYU women’s basketball — No. 400.
Judkins is BYU basketball’s winningest coach, men’s or women’s. He has held the title of winningest women’s basketball coach since Jan. 12, 2012, when he reached 220 wins.
The Salt Lake City native began coaching at BYU in 2000 as an assistant coach following a five-year stint in the NBA. The next year he took over as head coach and has stayed with the Cougars since.
Judkins has three conference regular-season titles and four conference tournament championships under his belt with the Cougars. He has coached six All-Americans, seven conference players of the year, four defensive players of the year and 54 all conference players.
The Cougars have seen the impact of Judkins coming off a 26-7 record in the 2018-19 season, in addition to the WCC Tournament title and a second-round run in the NCAA Tournament.
The players have developed a deep respect and friendship with the coach, with many referencing his tedious film breakdown and confidence boosting practices.
“He takes a lot of time and preparation with film and makes sure that we write up everyone’s tendencies before each game,” senior Shalae Salmon said. “Coach takes a lot of preparation with the on-court stuff, making sure that we know what each player does.”
Judkins has worked extensively to establish a solid team who can perform to its highest potential. He pulls players aside daily to have one-on-one talks about what they can focus on and what they are excelling in.
“He wants to make sure we play like we practice,” Salmon said.
Senior Brenna Chase Drollinger said the atmosphere at practice centers around hard work and a smooth play. The Cougars play every game hoping to mimic easy flowing practices with high aggression. The team credits determination and incredible team unity among players and coaches for their successful past two seasons.
Intensity is a common word used among players when describing the coach’s philosophy and demeanor as a head coach.
“He is a very intense coach. He tells you what you need to do, but he also gives you the confidence to do it,” Drollinger said. “He gives good pregame talks and prepares us super well so that we know what to expect. He expects that from us and holds us accountable.”
Seniors mentioned personal lessons learned about both life and basketball from Judkins that will stay with them long after their time at BYU. The coach prioritizes promoting confidence in his players both young and old.
Players develop throughout their time under coach Judkins from key learning experiences as young team members early on in their college career.
“I think what it does is it gives them confidence. Then when they get more confidence, I can put them in more situations,” Judkins said.
Currently, the team is hoping to increase game attendance— particularly in the ROC section.
“One of my goals when I came to BYU was to average 3,500-4,000,” Judkins said. “Our next step is the students. We have some great students come and they are loud and it’s a lot of fun.”
Judkins legacy’s as BYU’s winningest coach will continue on as BYU continues conference play to cap off the 2019-20 season.