It has taken just four years for Greg Hudson to mold and transform the Pirate defense into one of the most physical, ball-hawking and stingiest units in the nation.
Hudson, who is also directly responsible for the entire linebacking corps after working exclusively with the middle linebackers in 2006 and the safeties a year earlier, promptly began his repair work on a Pirate defense during his initial season. His squad ended the `05 campaign standing among the nation's top 20 pass defense units, allowing a paltry 184.9 yard a game. His scheme also paved the way for 15 interceptions during the year before following with 16 (2006), 17 (2007) and 22 (2008) picks respective seasons later - the latter serving as ECU's highest total since 1994.
Hudson's relentless 2006 squad played a pivotal role in the program's rebirth that resulted in the school's first bowl appearance since 2001 by allowing just 20.8 points per game - a mark which ranked among the top five Pirate teams since 1980.
Hudson's rapidly-developing lore as a run-stopping specialist has been strongly supported by his last three units. After inheriting a squad that surrendered 233.3 yards a game and ranked 114th nationally against the rush in 2004, he has methodically built and nurtured a cohesive group that has allowed just a combined 140.9 yards on the ground per contest and held 12 opponents under the 100-yard ledger in 2006, 2007 and 2008..
Since Hudson has guided East Carolina's defensive efforts, he's also put a premium on his unit's ability to rack up take-aways. After breaking even in 2005 with 20 forced turnovers, the Pirates followed with 27 in 2006 (+4) before notching 31 in 2007 to earn a No. 4 national rank and No. 1 Conference USA standing with a +1.31 margin.
Hudson's crew followed by racking up 33 in 2008 - the most forced by an ECU unit since 1996. The Pirates were once again among the FBS level leaders in multiple turnover contests after tallying two or more in 10 of 14 games, seven coming in East Carolina's Conference USA Championship Game victory at Tulsa.
Despite fighting through an epidemic of injuries during the '08 campaign, which included the early loss of senior starter Quentin Cotton at one of the outside linebacker positions, Hudson's squad finished the year standing among the high-scoring C-USA's top three in the four major categories, including a No. 1 rank in total defense (333.0 ypg) and scoring defense (21.0 ppg).
In addition to linebacker Pierre Bell and six other defensive players who earned various All-Conference USA honors in 2008, Hudson also picked up honors as the Rivals.com Defensive Coordinator-of-the-Week following the Pirates' impressive 24-3 win against No. 8 West Virginia and its All-America quarterback Pat White.
His appointment at ECU officially ended a four-year tenure at Minnesota that began in 2001. After spending the first two seasons as the Gophers' linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator, he was promoted to defensive coordinator prior to UM's appearance in the 2002 Music City Bowl against Arkansas and remained in that capacity for the following two seasons.
After holding the Razorbacks' 11th-ranked rush offense to just 80 yards during the Gophers' 29-14 win, Hudson followed in 2003 by heading a Minnesota defense which allowed just 21.9 points per game (second-lowest average by an UM unit since 1985), 340.4 yards a contest (second-lowest average since 1980) and 122.7 rushing yards per game, which was the second-lowest average against the Gophers since 1962. In fact, Minnesota earned top 35 national statistical rankings in all three categories during the `03 campaign while also allowing opponents a little over three yards per carry.
Hudson's defense turned in another productive performance in 2004, standing 16th nationally in turnover margin (+.73), 44th in scoring defense (23.4 ppg) and 49th in rushing defense (140.4 ypg).
Prior to his stay at Minnesota, Hudson spent four years (1997-2000) at Cincinnati, where he helped lead the Bearcats to national prominence which included a pair of bowl appearances in three seasons. As assistant head coach and linebackers coach, he was instrumental in the transformation of UC's defense into the top-ranked unit in Conference USA. The Bearcats were exceptionally proficient in forcing turnovers, ranking sixth nationally in that category in 2000 with a plus-12 margin. Hudson also coached the offensive line (1997) and running backs (1998) before moving over to defense.
Before his move to Cincinnati, Hudson spent three seasons on Skip Holtz' staff at Connecticut in 1994, 1995 and 1996 as the Huskies' offensive line coach. Behind his efforts, UConn averaged over 4,000 yards per season during that span.
Hudson began his coaching career in 1990 at the University of Redlands (Calif.), serving as linebackers coach for the Bulldogs before returning to alma mater Notre Dame in 1993. While coaching the Fighting Irish offensive line that season as a graduate assistant, he helped lead Notre Dame to an 11-1 record, which included a 24-21 win over Texas A&M in the 1994 Cotton Bowl and a final No. 2 rank. He also coached Aaron Taylor, who captured the Outland Trophy as the nation's top lineman in 1993 and was a first-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers.
Hudson was a two-year participant as a linebacker at Notre Dame in 1986 and 1987 and earned his bachelor's degree in sociology in 1990 before adding a master's from Redlands in 2000. He was a prep All-America selection as a linebacker at Moeller High School in Cincinnati.
Hudson, 42, and wife Kelly are the parents of four children - sons Garrett and Jack, and daughters Kacey and Kayla.