Mar. 26—Cullman's varsity boys basketball program has a new head coach.
Stu Stuedeman — a Mountain Brook assistant — was officially hired on Friday following approval by the Cullman City Board of Education at a special called meeting.
He replaces Bobby Meyer, who departed in February after notching a 186-140 record and four area tournament titles in 11 campaigns with the Bearcats.
"Very excited to be here," Stuedeman said. "Cullman High School is second to none in the state as far as education goes. You have great leadership with Mrs. (Principal Kim) Hall, Coach (Athletic Director Mark) Stephens, and their whole administration. Everyone loves being a Bearcat. The community is a great, budding community that my wife and I fell in love with when we visited. We can't wait to get up here and work with the kids and students, and we can't wait to become Bearcats ourselves."
Stuedeman spent the past three seasons as an assistant at Mountain Brook under head coaches Bucky McMillan (2018-20) and Tyler Davis (2020-21), helping the Spartans take home two state crowns (Class 7A in 2019 and Class 6A in 2021) in that span. He was also an assistant from 2014-16.
Stuedeman said he "learned a lot about myself" during his second stint at Mountain Brook, with many of those lessons coming from time spent working with special needs kids at Crestline Elementary.
"Getting to see those kids and getting to be around those kids really showed me there's more to this than winning and losing — and it's the relationships you build with the kids," he said. "What you do at the varsity level is very important for the entire community, and it was so important for me to learn that it's more than just basketball. I'm thankful for the people at Crestline. They taught me a lot of life lessons. And, of course, getting to work with people like Bucky, Dave Good, Tyler Davis, (Mountain Brook Principal) Phillip Holley and (Mountain Brook Athletic Director) Benny Eaves, too."
Before returning to the Spartans, Stuedeman coached Grissom's varsity boys in 2017-18, guiding the Tigers to a 15-14 record and Sweet 16 appearance in Class 7A.
A season prior to that, he led Greenville's varsity boys to a 20-4 record en route to winning the Class 5A, Area 4 title and reaching the Sweet 16.
Stuedeman also served a stint as Hewitt-Trussville's varsity girls head coach (2012-14) and has made additional assistant stops at Vestavia Hills (2011-12), Chipola College (2010-11), Spring Hill College (2009-10) and the University of Alabama (2006-09), where he was a student assistant for then-coach Mark Gottfried.
As for what to expect from his Cullman squads?
"Our main three things — we're going to be the hardest-working team, the most unselfish team, and the most fearless team night in and night out," he said. "We're going to play fast, we're going to play hard-nosed defense, we're going to rebound. We're going to play continuity based, share-the-rock basketball. We're going to try to get out and go and play as fast as we can. We want the ball popping and moving, and everyone sharing the sugar. And when people come to watch, they are pleased with how hard and fearless and unselfish they play."
In a statement released by the school, Hall lauded Stuedeman's résumé and his ability to lead the program.
"We are thrilled to have Coach Stuedeman join our team. He brings valuable basketball expertise, knowledge and energy to CHS, and has a clear vision to implement a comprehensive developmental basketball program," Hall said. "I look forward to working with him, and we are so excited about the energy he brings, coming from an elite Mountain Brook program. He brings key experience working in various successful high school and college programs, and coached alongside former Mountain Brook and current Samford University Coach Bucky McMillan."
Stuedeman is a Vestavia Hills graduate. He played basketball for two seasons (2004-06) at UAH under head coach Lennie Acuff before injuries derailed his career. Stuedeman then transferred to Alabama, where he finished his degree in Human Development.