By: Brandon Speck
FULTON – It’s the same bench, but a much different seat for Rick Hodum.
Seven years ago, Hodum would sit just a few seats down Kossuth’s bench as his name was called during the starting lineups.
Friday, he had a seat at the end of the bench, though he didn’t stay in it very often. The 25-year-old is in his first year as head coach of the Lady Aggies.
“My mentors told me you don’t want to get your coaching career started where you went to school,” Hodum said following Friday’s Class 3A state quarterfinals win against Noxubee County.
So much for that.
The win sent Kossuth and its rookie head coach, a 2016 Kossuth graduate, to next week’s state semifinal following a dominating 15-point win against a team many considered the best in 3A.
His team was unfazed, connecting on 14 3-pointers in the win. As the girls came to the bench from warmups, Hodum greeted them with a “This is gonna be fun.”
“There’s a little bit of pressure going home first before you establish yourself or have any success anywhere else,” Hodum said. “I can’t thank Kossuth enough for giving me an opportunity.”
Hodum and the team he brags on for being extremely coachable are making the most of the opportunities, winning 19 games against a tough schedule. One of those losses was a five-point defeat against fellow semifinal team Booneville.
While Hodum kept his cool while talking about getting his team to Mississippi Coliseum, senior Dacy Marsh knows what it means to him.
“It means a lot to him. He talks about it all the time,” said Marsh, who hit seven 3s Friday.
Kossuth won it all in 2019 and was runner-up two years later. There was a Hodum on that championship team, Rick’s sister Morgan, a standout like her older brother.
The Hodums and Kossuth have become synonymous and the story is still being written.
“I love Kossuth,” Hodum said. “It does mean a lot to take these girls back to Jackson. It’s huge. It means a lot.”