AUBURN — All the pieces just fell into place.
That’s how Tim Hudson describes his decision to return to the program now, days after it was announced that the Auburn all-timer would be joining the team as a pitching coach.
‘Pieces in place’ fits well for the program’s side of the move, too, now less than a month from first pitch.
Auburn figures Hudson will be a big piece to the team’s bigger puzzle as the Tigers aim for another dream season in 2020.
And it all comes with a little sense of serendipity and a big sense of purpose.
Hudson said on Thursday in an interview with MLB Network that he was actually already considering an internship with Auburn baseball for this spring when former pitching coach Steve Smith left to become a head coach at Tennessee Tech and the space opened for head coach Butch Thompson to bring Hudson on in his place.
“After I sat with my wife and the family and talked to them about it, it just seemed like things were just falling in place and it just seemed like it was a place where I’m supposed to be,” Hudson said in the interview on the network’s show ‘Hot Stove.’
Hudson’s arrival was celebrated by fans last Tuesday when news broke that the Auburn legend and 17-year Major League player would be joining the coaching staff as a volunteer assistant and pitching coach.
It’s with good reason. Hudson was stellar at Auburn and even better in the professional ranks, beloved especially for his time with the nearby Atlanta Braves, also a local kid having come through Glenwood School in Phenix City.
Last year Auburn made it back to the College World Series for the first time since Hudson led Auburn there in 1997.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Hudson said on the show. “My experience here at Auburn was unbelievable. It was a couple of amazing years. We went to the College World Series.
“And, you know, something to build from: an awesome season last year. They went to the College World Series and had a lot of success. I think these boys are hungry.
“I’m very happy to be a part of what Coach Thompson has going on here. He’s building a great program and I just hope to be able to help as much as I can.”
Hudson was actually taking classes through Auburn this past year, working to finish a degree. To say Hudson is coming back to the program almost seems strange given that he’s been a staple as a supporter of Auburn athletics ever since his retirement in MLB.
But as pitching coach he’ll be back in an Auburn uniform for the first time since 1997 when Auburn baseball opens its 2020 schedule on Feb. 14.
“Tim has already impacted Auburn baseball, Auburn University and our community enough to last a lifetime,” Thompson said in his announcement last week.
“But amazing people always seem to have more to give, and that couldn’t be more true for Tim and Kim Hudson,” the head coach said of Hudson and his wife — herself an impacting member of the community through her work with the family’s foundation.
“I’ve never been more excited for our current pitchers and future recruits to be able to learn from one of the best competitors of all time,” he went on. “I believe Tim’s experience makes Auburn the premier pitching development experience in amateur baseball.”
Hudson is set to make his debut in collegiate coaching, but he has served as an instructor at spring training in recent years for both the Braves and the San Francisco Giants.
This is new.
But, for Hudson, there’s no better place to make that debut than with his alma mater.
“I’m really excited about working with these boys,” Hudson told MLB Network. “I don’t have a lot of experience being a pitching coach, but I do have a lot of experience around that mound and I feel like I can help them out in a lot of different ways.”