Travis Hudson speaks on heart attack, spring tournament

WKU women’s head coach Travis Hudson cheers on his team as they play against Tennessee State on Tuesday in Diddle Arena.

Jeremy Chisenhall

Volleyball coach Travis Hudson is less than one month removed from suffering a heart attack that shocked his team, but he is taking his recovery well, according to his players and assistants. 

“I vividly remember the moment,” rising senior setter Mary Martin said. “We got the text, and my heart just dropped. It was so hard for me to believe because he works out all the time—he’ll be in there with us working out—and he eats so healthy. My heart hurt for him and for everyone. He just means so much to all of us. He’s like a second dad.”

Hudson addressed the media Thursday for the first time since his heart attack.


“There’s been a lot of reflection over the last couple weeks,” Hudson said. “I’m really blessed, obviously, to be standing here. I’m really blessed to be back on my feet. Beyond surviving something like that, there’s a pretty good sentiment that I should be able to return to a pretty normal life, including coaching here on the Hill. That’s the direction we’re headed right now, and I’m really, really glad to say that.”

Hudson also gave credit to his staff for helping to keep the team from missing a beat despite his heart attack. 

“I hope my situation hasn’t been a setback to them,” Hudson said. “My staff has done a great job, and we’re looking forward to hopefully finishing what’s been a real rollercoaster this spring on a really high note.”

Hudson said he’ll be on the sideline for this weekend’s spring tournament, but he’ll have to take it easy. 

“This weekend I’ve been cleared to be up moving around a little bit more than I was before, so I’ll have to control myself a little bit,” Hudson said. “But certainly it’ll be phenomenal to be back on the sideline and hopefully help our kids.”

This weekend’s spring tournament will be a first look at WKU volleyball without graduating seniors Jessica Lucas, Maggie Singleton, Alyssa Cavanaugh, Amara Listenbee and Sydney Eagle. The five seniors helped lead WKU to a regular season conference championship in every season that they played.

“It’s always a process in the spring,” Hudson said. “We graduated two four-time All-Americans. We graduated another four-year starter. We’re certainly going to have to rebuild, but I like our kids, and I like the progress they’ve made this spring.”

The spring tournament will be the team’s last activity before they go their separate ways this summer. 

“This will be our last group time that we’re going to be playing together before we go into summer and work on our individual skills,” rising junior defensive specialist Emma Kowalkowski said. “So it’s really important that we kind of get a look at what it could be in the fall. Obviously we have our incoming freshmen coming in still too, but it’s important that we see the improvement that we’ve made in spring and see what we’re going into the summer as.”

The tournament will start with WKU playing at 10 a.m. on Saturday in Diddle Arena. 

Sports Editor Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.