Dixie State’s basketball coach picks up historic coaching wins in back-to-back games

Hunter Schofield, shown here in a file photo, led Dixie State in points during coach Jon Judkins' record-setting 300th win with the Trailblazers, St. George, Utah, Dec. 21, 2021 | Photo by Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University men’s basketball coach Jon Judkins has seen some magical moments in his 17 seasons on the Trailblazers bench, and recently they’ve been coming nonstop.

Over the course of back-to-back games last week, Judkins became the all-time winningest head coach in Utah collegiate basketball history and then picked up his 300th career coaching victory at Dixie.

“The happy part for me is that we won two games,” Judkins told St. George News after practice Monday morning. “My job is to get out there and put our players in the best possible position to win. The records work themselves out.”

Indeed, after Dixie walloped SAGU American Indian College 114-49 last Wednesday night at Burns Arena, Judkins’ career collegiate coaching record worked out to 583-279.

That is one better than previous record-holder Elaine Elliott, the legendary women’s coach at Utah who compiled a 582-324 record. 

Head basketball coach Jon Judkins is now the career leader in collegiate coaching victories in the state of Utah, St. George, Utah, Dec. 21, 2021 | Photo by Dixie State University, St. George News

“My brother coached at Utah and I knew her (Elliott) then,” Judkins said. “After the game was over, it was neat to see that. I’m excited and honored to have all those wins, but I couldn’t do it by myself. A lot of credit goes to my coaches and players.” 

The Trailblazers followed that up with a 78-69 gritty road victory last Saturday afternoon at North Dakota. Dixie moved to 7-5 overall after the win and Judkins secured his 300th career victory leading the Trailblazers.

“When I first started recruiting here, people would say, ‘He’s a Dixie State player’ and I would wonder what that meant,” Judkins said. “It means that we have tough kids that play hard and physical, and they can shoot it. We look for those kind of players.” 

Players like Noa Gonsalves, named the TicketSmarter Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week for his part in the two victories. The freshman from Lehi averaged 10 points, four rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes in the two record-setting wins.

Cameron Gooden, shown here in a file photo, won WAC Player of the Week honors after scoring 22 points for the Trailblazers against Denver University, St. George, Utah, Dec. 11, 2021 | Photo by Dixie State University, St. George News

And this also includes players like junior guard Cameron Gooden, who was named TicketSmarter WAC Player of the Week after Dixie’s 82-62 home victory over Denver University Dec. 11. Gooden, from Frisco, Texas, led all scorers in the contest with 22 points.

And players like Hunter Schofield, who recovered from a serious injury and now leads the Trailblazers on and off the court. The senior from Spanish Forks led all Dixie scorers against North Dakota with 18 points.

The Trailblazers now turn their attention to in-state rival Southern Utah University. After beating the Thunderbirds 83-76 at Burns Arena Nov. 12, Dixie will go to Cedar City Wednesday night for the rematch at America First Event Center at 7 p.m.

“That sixth man makes such a big difference,” Judkins said. “We really fed off our crowd last time. A lot of their fans came down from Cedar, and hopefully, a lot of our fans will be there Wednesday night. They’ll be rocking and rolling and we’re going to have to be tough.” 

Then Dixie State will take Christmas break off and return to the court Dec. 30 to open its WAC schedule against Tarleton State at Burns Arena at 7 p.m. 

“Our goal right now is to win the WAC. That’s what we’re trying to do,” Judkins said.

Judkins added that he has no intention of slowing down any time soon and expects that record number of wins to keep growing.

“For me, being here for 17 years and to get 300 wins, to go from a junior college to Division II and now to Division I, we’re going to continue to get better every day,” Judkins said.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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