Fairfield assistant coach Matt Hodson is pictured cutting the net after the Lions' sectional final win this season. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
Fairfield assistant coach Matt Hodson is pictured cutting the net after the Lions' sectional final win this season. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
For the past 12 years in Fairfield athletics, Matt Hodson has been a big part of varying levels of the boys and girls basketball programs at different stages of his coaching career. Hodson has coached junior high, junior varsity and varsity basketball as a head coach at all of those levels.

This past month, Hodson decided it was time to take a step back and no longer be a full-time coach for the Fairfield Lions, saying it was time to move forward and the time had come.

 


Hodson coached one year of JV girls basketball when he first got into coaching at Fairfield, and next he became the girls varsity head coach for the ensuing five seasons. From there, he went over to the boys program and was the eighth grade head coach for three seasons, followed by a year as the freshman head coach.

For the past two seasons, Hodson — a 1985 Fairfield graduate — has coached two years as the JV boys basketball head coach, ending his full-time coaching career with a senior class that he first coached in the junior high program.

Hodson now ends his coaching career on a high note as the Fairfield Lions varsity team — where he is an assistant coach — shared the Southern Hills Athletic Conference Division II championship, plus the Lions went on to win a sectional title and play at the Ohio University Convocation Center in the district semifinals.

“I’ve been around these seniors and have coached them all the way through, and that has been their goal to win a league championship … and to see them step up and do that was special. Just to see them do that, that makes my heart happy,” Hodson said. "All the kids have been the best part about it. I was telling someone about the great kids we have at Fairfield. They are super kids, their parents were great and it is pretty much a family.

“The girls I’ve had, I see some of them are married now and having kids of their own, graduating with college degrees, in the military – all of them are successful. And the kids I had in junior high, they are graduating now and in college, and it is just great to see them be successful.”

It has been a great ride for Hodson as he had a chance to coach his daughter, Courtney, in the girls program and to coach his son, Bennett, at various levels of the boys basketball program throughout the years. It was a family affair for Hodson, as his wife, Mary Beth, was his scorekeeper for games he coached in over the years.

“It will be different. It will be a lot different,” Hodson said of him and his family not being involved in sports full-time at Fairfield. “I coached my daughter (Courtney), and Bennett is going off to school and running at Kentucky Christian, and that was the thing that made me decide to get out of coaching full-time. I told (Josh) Howland I could stick around and help some, but I can’t commit to being a full-time coach anymore. It wouldn’t be fair to the kids or fair to Bennett.”

Coaching takes a lot of time and energy, and not only that, but there are sacrifices made for the team as well. There are many nights where coaches watch film or are on the road scouting future opponents, which makes a difference in potentially gaining a win or loss for the program. Hodson said even though it makes for long nights, that is part of being a full-time coach he’ll miss the most.

“I was thinking about all the time you put into coaching, watching film, going to scout. That is something I’m going to miss,” Hodson said. “But the biggest thing I’m going to miss is being around the kids. I’ll miss the enjoyment I got from helping them grow not only as ball players, but as young adults and to carry on into their life.

“I talk a lot of commitment and talk a lot about attitude. My faith in God has got me a lot in life and got me in the right direction, and without Him, there would be a lot of stressful nights if I didn’t have Him to go to after ball games.”

There are too many people for Hodson to say thanks to, but he spoke highly of the administration and athletic directors from Fairfield who have helped him be a head coach.

“It is just one of those things where it just came down to it is time. I like to thank the school and administration,” he said. “When I first got here, Steve Barrett hired me, then Matt Carson came through as AD, and then working with Denise (Mootz) has been great, too. I want to thank all three of them for allowing me to coach at Fairfield.

“Working with Coach (Everett) Snyder, Coach Howland and Coach (Travis) Teeters, they have been all great men for me to coach with, and I appreciate everything they have done for me.”

Hodson also thanked his family for all of their support.

“A huge thank you to Mary Beth. She has kept my book for almost every one of my games, including Bennett and Courtney’s little league games,” Hodson said. “Without her support all these years, I probably wouldn't have been able to coach as long as I have. She hears a lot of negative things, as all wives of coaches do, from the crowd, but she never let that bother her. We would just laugh or shake our head when we got home.

“Thanks also to my mom and dad. They would make as many games as possible. Dad’s health has been pretty bad the last couple of seasons, but even this year I would look to their corner spot and there they were.”