Chalk it Up – Larry Hunter is Gone

Many media outlets are reporting that NC State Assistant Basketball Coach, Larry Hunter, has been offered the Head Coaching job at Western Carolina University.

Folks…you can chalk it up that Hunter is gone.

Larry Hunter joined the Wolfpack staff in May of 2001, coming to Raleigh simultaneously with the “Julius Hodge recruiting class” that was ranked in most Top 5 recruiting rankings in the country.

Hunter is generally credited with helping connect Herb Sendek and staff to a contact that came to Raleigh and taught the coaching staff and the team the “Princeton” offense that was implemented in Hunter/Hodge’s first season. In many time out situations, Sendek consults primarily with Hunter prior to addressing the team (a task that Hunter has even executed in the past, as well).

Larry Hunter was a head coach for 25 years prior to joining NC State’s staff, achieving winning records in 23 of his 25 seasons as a head coach and compiling an overall record of 509-224.

Story Behind the Story?
Many people scratched their heads in bewilderment at how easily friggin Ohio could cast away such a consistent performer as Hunter?

When Hunter was dismissed from his head coaching job at Ohio University after 12 successful seasons in 2001, he ranked as the 16th-winningest active coach in the country. It seemed that nothing merited his firing on the court in his final season, either. Heck, the performance of his final Bobcats squad would have made Herb Sendek and Lee Fowler froth at the mouth with praise – in his last season at Ohio, the Bobcats were 19-11 and 12-6 in MAC competition.

Hunter’s current transitional period is equally perplexing to a discerning outsider’s eye.

Although Hunter has never made a secret of wanting to re-enter the head coaching ranks…why the Western Carolina job? why now? What really is the impetus for this move?

Over the last couple of weeks, Hunter has obviously been job shopping. It seems obvious that he had either made a decision to leave, or a decision had been made for him. Hunter’s name has been linked to numerous openings, including an assistant position at Arkansas. Now, it seems as though he is set on leaving NC State for Western Carolina.

Are we supposed to believe that Larry Hunter’s grand plan to get back into the top spot on the sidelines of a college basketball program included him leaving a supposedly strong ACC program for one of the traditionally worst college basketball programs in the country? Really? He has passed on opportunities in past years…and kept his name out of many hats…all to move to Cullowee, NC and coach in the Darth Vader dome?

You can buy it if you want. I’m not biting. But, I’m not really looking for the “truth” to publish on the blog. Just taking the opportunity to point out the obvious since so many people live in such oblivion. (I know that just for saying such a thing I will be castigated and attacked by what the ACC Areas Sports Journal labeled the “Powerful NC State Basketball Spin Machine”. Just imagine if I were to ever transfer what they might say about me?)

At face value, this move makes no sense.

At realistic value (the truth behind the scenes), this shake-up on the staff is a necessity and is just they way that it has to be. We should all wish Larry Hunter the best as he embarks on the next phase of his career and be grateful for his role in helping deliver four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, even if they were unspectacular.

The Future?
There will be a lot of speculation about the future of the composition of the basketball staff once Hunter’s departure is official. It should be interesting.

General NCS Basketball

6 Responses to Chalk it Up – Larry Hunter is Gone

  1. Bullish 04/28/2005 at 10:47 PM #

    looks like lil’ Archie Miller may be moving on up the chain of command or will Herb go out and hire someone with a great background? What about adding some of Herb’s past players that want to get into coaching? Will Roach, Justin Gainey???

    I vote for the proven route.

  2. Rick Jernigan 04/29/2005 at 8:22 AM #

    Other than Coach K, does any other ACC coach have as many former assistants with Division 1 head coaching gigs as Herb? Hunter – Western Carolina, Thad Matta – Ohio State, Sean Miller – Xavier, Charlie Coles – Miami and I believe there may be one more I can’t remember.

  3. Jeff 04/29/2005 at 8:56 AM #


    Don’t forget Sean Miller at Xavier.

    See this entry from earlier in the year for some interesting coaching ties.

    I know that you weren’t necessarily “giving credit” to Herb for all of these guys (for example, Hunter was a head coach for 25 years before joining Herb)…but, I think that we need to be as clear as possible when talking about this so as to not praise something that may actually deserve criticism.

    For example…Thad Matta despised working for Herb so badly that he left after a single season and took an assistant’s job at friggin Western Carolina. (Kind of ironic with Hunter).

    It’s not a big deal…and technically, Matta would definitely be a branch under the Sendek coaching tree. But, in reality, I’m not sure Matta would like that very much and I’m not sure how we can give Sendek too much credit for “grooming” a guy that disliked the experience of working with Herb so much that he bailed for a lateral position at one of the worst basketball programs in the country.

    I’ve got a feeling that Gary Williams probably has a (growing) tree of assitants. Roy Williams has at least Doherty and Steve Robinson (if not others).

  4. Rick Jernigan 04/29/2005 at 1:41 PM #

    Jeff – Thanks for the link to your prior entry, awesome stuff. I did not know about the Matta/Sendek situation. Basketball & football coaching at the highest levels really is, in many ways, a small fraternity. I was thinking more of current Division I coaches which would eliminate Steve Robinson. I believe Norm Roberts at St. John’s was an assistant with Roy Williams as well as Coach Doh at Kansas and there could be more.

  5. gambling 06/27/2005 at 6:47 PM #

    Nice page. It’s good to have kids who can use this medium to find you


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