Former UWO athlete finds career overseas


Courtesy of Travis Hudson

Travis Hudson rises above opponents to spike the ball. Hudson played at UW Oshkosh from 2013-17.

In the National Collegiate Athletic Association, few, if any Division III college athletes get the opportunity to surpass collegiate athletics and play at the professional level. A former UW Oshkosh volleyball player is currently making that happen in front of our eyes.

Travis Hudson, a UWO men’s volleyball club player from 2013-17 has made it as a professional in the world of volleyball. Hudson’s journey is very unique, as is most of his life and he did not plan on playing volleyball as a career. But when a rare opportunity arose, Hudson jumped all over it.
The 6 foot 6 inch setter is currently playing volleyball overseas for Volleyball Club Bitterfeld-Wolfen, a team in Western Germany.

Hudson, a native of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, started his career at a young age. Hudson said he started playing volleyball when he was in the fifth grade.
“I was lucky enough that my grade school offered volleyball, and I joined the team,” Hudson said.

Hudson attended Wauwatosa West High School, where his volleyball career took off. While playing in high school, Hudson received a couple offers aside from UWO to play collegiate volleyball.

“I had other offers from three different schools. Those schools were Quincy University in Illinois, Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina and Carthage College in Wisconsin,” Hudson said.

In the end, Hudson chose Oshkosh to continue his education and volleyball career.
“I chose to play at UWO because the program had a history of being successful, the school was close to home and was a cheaper option compared to the other schools I was looking at,” Hudson said.

Former UWO assistant men’s volleyball coach Tim Weis said Hudson’s unique size and athleticism don’t come around often.
“He is as well-rounded individual as you are going to meet,” Weis said. “Players of his size should be playing defensive end in football. He happened to be good at volleyball.”

From 2014-16 the Titans won three consecutive national titles. Hudson and the team were unstoppable, winning multiple tournament championships at the club level.

During that time, Hudson was a three-time National Player of the Year, three-time Wisconsin Volleyball Conference MVP and five-time First Team All-Conference. During his time at UWO, the team won the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation National Championship three years consecutively.

The team was a big target to many opponents during this time due to how continuously successful the program has been. Sam Moua, a former teammate, said Hudson is special because he has a great personality and never got rattled in high-pressure moments.

“Travis has the kind of swagger you look for in a player, the one who can talk the talk and walk the walk,” Moua said.
Hudson was a star on the court. Oftentimes, other teams would come watch the Titans just to see Travis play. Hudson was playing at a higher level than anyone around him, but Hudson said playing professionally never crossed his mind.

“While playing my first three years at Oshkosh, I never considered the idea of playing professional volleyball,” Hudson said.
Hudson was invited to try out for the United States Pan-American team after winning the national championship in 2014. Although he did not make the team, Hudson said he impressed the right people during the tryout.

“Coaches from the national team pulled me aside and asked if I had considered playing professional,” Hudson said. “The assistant coach gave me his contact information and later gave me information regarding possible agents to assist with a professional career.”

He then received a contract to play in Germany for VC Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Hudson said playing volleyball as a career has been surreal.
“I love being able to play my favorite sport and being able to call it my career,” Hudson said. “Playing volleyball as my job is a dream come true, and I am one of the lucky ones who can say they’ve gotten this opportunity.”

Living overseas, Hudson has to deal with a language barrier, making it more important to be on the same page as other teammates. Hudson said there are certain times he leans on his teammates to translate important information for him.

“I have been able to succeed and get by because the majority of my teammates speak English and can translate the German for me if information needs to get passed by those who do not speak English,” Hudson said.

Hudson graduated from UWO with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in human resource management. Hudson said he does plan on using his degree in the future, but for now, it’s strictly volleyball.