Coach Vic through the years (Photo: Katrina Gorauskas, The Puma Prensa)
by Katrina Gorauskas, staff writer
For the past three years, Maria Carrillo High School athletes have been blessed to have Coach Victor Hudson, known by all as “Coach Vic,” as the sprint coach for the Carrillo track team. He has coached for 32 years, qualified for the Olympic trials two times, played in the NBA summer league for six years and is currently pursuing a professional golf career. He brings humor and joy to training with his infectious laugh and smile. Mysterious to athletes, Coach Vic’s past and all of his great accomplishments are relatively unknown to the majority of students.
Coach Vic grew up in Stanford, California and spent a lot of time at nearby Stanford University. He said, “Both of my parents went to Stanford and my dad got two PhDs and my mom got her law degree there. I went to Menlo-Atherton High School and I played basketball and I ran track. I got a couple basketball scholarship offers at small D1 schools and big offers for track. So I ended up going to University of Arizona and ran [the 400m] for track on scholarship. Then I left school early and I kinda got burnt out… I wanted to train for the Olympics. I then decided I was going to play basketball and try that out.”
He additionally went down to LA and tried out for the NBA in the summer league with the Lakers for three years, from ‘91-’93; then the Clippers from ‘94-’96 and at the same time still trained in track and made the Olympic trials in 1996 and 2000.
Coach Vic is an accomplished athlete, one of the best in the nation. He qualified for the Olympic trials for the 400m not once, but twice. Sadly, he was injured for both and in ‘96 he had a double knee surgery due to bone spurs and did not get to compete. Despite his injury, Coach Vic persevered and once again qualified for the Olympic trials in 2000, but three weeks before the Olympic trials he tore his hamstring at a meet.
In order to become such an outstanding athlete, Coach Vic had to put in years of hard work, dedication, and countless hours. In regards to preparation, he said, “In high school I trained and it was always my goal to make the NBA or Olympic team and I actually got the opportunity. When I got to college and learned all the lifting and the strength that is when the process really started. I did not realize when you go to a Division 1 school they are expecting you to make all the NCAAs, Olympic trials, and all that stuff… It is a job, but I loved it… five days a week everyday from 1986-2000.”
Coach Vic has trained with Butch Reynolds, a world record holder in the 400m, Andre Phillips, a gold medalist in the 400m hurdles and 400m gold medalist Quincy Watts.
In 1990, when Coach Vic started training for the Olympics, his Hall of Fame coach Brooks Johnson encouraged Vic to go coach kids in order to understand and improve his own running. Vic said, “He was right, so I started teaching…I fell in love with it and everything I learn[ed] I give to [my athletes].”
Coach Vic has coached at Maria Carrillo, Palo Alto High School, Menlo Atherton High School, St. Francis High School and Junipero Serra High School where he coached Tom Brady his senior year. He helped run basketball camps at Stanford for Coach Mike Montgomery and Coach Tara Vanderveer for five years and helped condition the Stanford women’s soccer and tennis teams. Then he was the head coach at Academy of Art University for cross country and track in 2010.
Even though Coach Vic lives in Palo Alto, he gives up his time commuting an hour and half five days a week during track season to coach the Carrillo track team. He also currently coaches at Palo Alto High School with his college teammate.
Bailey Bronston, a junior at MCHS and one of the track captains, has been coached by Vic for three years. When describing Vic, she mentioned his infamous track suits that match head to toe despite Vic being color blind, “[Vic] looks like a highlighter most of the time.” Bronston commented on her favorite part about running for Coach Vic, saying, “He is always smiling and believes that you can do better than you think you can. He has taught me a lot of leadership skills and he helps to push me when I think I can’t do any better.”
Alyssa Boyd, MCHS senior track captain, has been coached by Vic since sophomore year. While talking about her favorite part about running for Coach Vic, Boyd said, “He has a positive, funny attitude towards everything. He taught me that if you don’t believe that you can actually do something you won’t be able to do it.”
As a retired athlete, Vic started pursuing golf after becoming friends with wide receiver Jerry Rice and running back Roger Craig when working out with the 49ers. “[Jerry Rice] finally got me into a charity celebrity golf tournament and lied to the guy and said that I made the Olympic team and they put me in as a celebrity and I learned the game. I was 40 years old when I started… because I am competitive I just kept getting good.” Then Coach Vic went to a golf clinic and met PGA tour golfer Ben Alexander who said that if Vic trained hard enough, by the time Coach Vic was 50, he might be able to make the tour.
Through all of his experiences Coach Vic has learned discipline and work ethic; he is a great source of knowledge and advice for young aspiring athletes. He points out, “A lot of athletes do the sport because they think they have to or are being told to. Once you are having fun, you can lock in and focus and see how good you can be. Also, know who you are, and that is one thing that helped me, especially in basketball. I knew who I was, and did not try to be better than I was.”
“That is the big thing,” Vic said, “Know what you can do. Improve on things, but lock in and have fun with it.”