High school basketball: Knee injury changed Kendal Cudjoe's career path

Last week, Cudjoe was named the new boys basketball coach at his alma mater, Douglass High School. But it was a serious knee injury a little more than a decade ago that sent Cudjoe's career down the path to coaching.
by Scott Wright Published: April 28, 2013
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Kendal Cudjoe can't be certain that his career would have naturally followed this path.

Last week, Cudjoe was named the new boys basketball coach at his alma mater, Douglass High School, where his father was a legendary coach, and where Cudjoe starred in basketball and football.

But it was a serious knee injury a little more than a decade ago that sent Cudjoe's career down an alternate path.

After playing college basketball at Central Oklahoma, Cudjoe went into officiating.

He began as a referee at the high school level, calling games in the All-City Athletic Conference, before working his way into the junior-college and NAIA levels.

Soon, he landed a job in the Big Eight Conference, then stayed on when it transitioned to the Big 12 Conference.

But an injury that required a full knee replacement ended his days as an official after 19 seasons.

If not for the injury, would he still be in the striped shirt, instead of on the sidelines as a coach today?

“That's a good question,” Cudjoe said. “It depends on how high I would have gone up the ladder in officiating. The schedule would have increased, so it would depend on how it went from year to year.

“I really had a good time doing that, traveling, meeting guys, working camps in the summer. It was a lot of fun.”

Before the injury, Cudjoe had begun coaching at Taft Middle School, helping with the football, basketball and track teams. So he had a natural transition to his next career. He spent the last four years as a head coach at Northwest Classen High School, two with the girls team and two with the boys.


by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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