Dudley named assistant coach for Owls football

10-year MIAA vet joins WWU coaching staff in advance of fall 2024 team launch.

Courtesy of William Woods University Athletic. (Contributed Photo)

FULTON -- In preparation for the fall 2024 football debut at William Woods University, Steven Dudley has joined the Owls' coaching staff as an assistant coach, head coach Julian Mendez announced Wednesday.

Dudley comes to The Woods following a 10-year stint at Fort Hays State University, where he served as the special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach.

"I'm excited to be able to start this program with coach Dudley," Mendez said in a release. "His work ethic and values will benefit the William Woods community and the community of Fulton. His wealth of experience at one of the best Division II conferences in the country and his hometown connections in the Kansas City area will help bridge the recruiting footprint to William Woods football as we join the Heart."

During his nine seasons in Hays, Dudley helped the Tigers to a 65-38 record, including four postseason appearances. He helped FHSU to its first-ever postseason win in 2016 (45-12 over Eastern New Mexico) in the Heart of Texas Bowl, followed by back-to-back MIAA championships and NCAA Division II playoff appearances in 2017 and '18.

The 2017 campaign saw the Tigers earn a perfect 11-0 regular season record.

"I am honored to be entrusted with this opportunity to help build William Woods football," Dudley said in a release. "After speaking with athletic director Steve Wilson and head coach Julian Mendez, it was clear that they had a strong plan to build this program the right way and to create something that our university and community can be proud of. I'm excited to bring in the first class of Owls and to begin developing outstanding young men."

In his last five seasons with the Tigers, Dudley helped 18 players earn All-MIAA honors between defensive backs and special teams players, with nine of those players also earning recognition on the Don Hansen Football Commitee All-America teams.

Among Dudley's standout special teams players was Dante Brown, who earned back-to-back selections as the Don Hansen Football Committee National Special Teams Player of the Year as well as the MIAA Special Teams Player of the Year nod in 2018 (punter/kicker) and 2019 (punter).

In 2018, Dudley helped Brown to an NCAA Division II best 28 field goal makes, an all-NCAA best average of 2.33 field goals per game and a 41.4-yard punting average.

In addition to Brown (41st pick, Edmonton Eskimos [CFL]), Dudley also helped defensive back Doyin Jibowu and kicker/punter Brandon Brown earn chances at the professional level.

Brown was invited to several NFL free agent rookie mini-camps after his college career in 2017, with Jibowu signing, playing the 2019 preseason with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent, and playing with the XFL's Dallas Renegades.

Dudley was a defensive back at Washburn University, earning four MIAA academic honor roll selections. As a prep, he was an all-conference selection at free safety for Park Hill South as a junior and senior and played quarterback for the Panthers.

A native of Parkville, Dudley earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Washburn. He earned his bachelor's degree in business management and marketing in 2011 and added an MBA in 2012.