April 15, 2022
Jeff Judkins retires after 21 years as BYU head coach
Judkins finishes his career in Provo as the winningest coach in basketball program history.
After an incredible 21-year career Jeff Judkins, the head coach of BYU women’s basketball, has announced his retirement. Judkins leaves the Cougars as the all-time winningest coach in BYU history, men’s or women’s. Judkins was named the 2022 WCC Coach of the Year after leading the Cougars to a 26-4 record, a WCC regular-season championship and an NCAA tournament at-large berth.
“I’ve loved my years here. The program is in a good place and it’s a good time for me,” Judkins said. “I have so many great memories of BYU. I’ve loved the people, the players, the coaches and everyone here at BYU. We turned this program into a consistent winner that wins conference championships and goes to the tournament on a regular basis. We’ve had great players and historic wins but more importantly, it has been the people and the relationships that I have loved and will remember the most. I’ve been lucky to be able to do something that I’ve loved so much for as long as I have.”
Judkins was drafted into the NBA by the Boston Celtics in 1978 after a successful four-year career at the University of Utah. He played five years in the NBA for four different teams. He started his coaching career in 1989 as an assistant for the men’s team at his alma mater. Judkins took over as head coach at BYU in 2001 after being an assistant for the team the previous two seasons. He guided the Cougars through nine seasons in the Mountain West Conference before they moved to the WCC. During that time, they won three conference regular-season titles and one MWC tournament title. They reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament in his first year as head coach.
“Jeff Judkins has had an illustrious career in basketball,” said BYU director of athletics Tom Holmoe. “From his high school days at Highland High School, to starring at the University of Utah, to his time in the NBA and finishing off with 21 years as head coach of the BYU women’s basketball team, Juddy has accomplished so much. His record of wins, championships, great players he’s mentored and great teams he’s led will long be remembered. Jeff loved his players, and they loved him.”
Since joining the WCC, the Cougars have dominated the league, finishing no worse than fifth in Judkins’ tenure. They won the regular season twice under Judkins and the tournament title three times. Judkins was named WCC Coach of the Year six times and coached eight conference players of the year. This previous season might have been his most successful as the Cougars got their highest AP Top 25 ranking in program history at No. 15 and set a program record with 25 regular-season wins. During his time at BYU, Judkins had a 456-204 record, leading BYU to 10 NCAA tournament berths, including two appearances in the sweet sixteen.
“Jeff Judkins has made BYU women’s basketball into one of the benchmark programs in the WCC. They have consistently competed for championships and postseason tournament berths,” San Francisco head coach Molly Goodenbour told The Next. “I will miss competing against him but I wish him the best in his retirement.”
Judkins has left a massive impression on BYU and it will be difficult for the next coach to fill his shoes. An immediate national search has begun for his replacement. His predecessor will have a much tougher job than he did as BYU moves to the Big 12 before the start of the 2023-24 season.
Written by Matthew Walter
Matthew Walter covers the Las Vegas Aces, the Pac-12 and the WCC for the Next. He is a former Director of Basketball Operations and Video Coordinator at three different Division I women's basketball programs.