THE PLAINS - Coach Larry E. Hunter, 68, of Cary, North Carolina, died Friday, May 4, 2018.
A native of The Plains, Larry is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Mary Kay Hunter, and beloved furbabies.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert W. and Mildred Meek Hunter, and is survived by his sister, Donna Jean (Darrell) Brown; twin brother, Garry E. (Rebecca) Hunter; two nephews, Dennis Brown and Shawn Hunter; a niece, Debra Brown Riggs; a great niece and nephew, Stephanie Eldridge and Jason Riggs; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. He is also survived by his extended family of 47 years of basketball student athletes, team members and associates.
Coach Hunter was born in Athens on Aug. 8, 1949, and grew up in The Plains. He graduated from The Plains High School and Ohio University. His 47 year collegiate career included assistant and associate head coaching positions at Marietta College and North Carolina State University, and head coaching positions at Wittenberg University, Ohio University and Western Carolina University, from where he stepped down in March of this year.
Some of the highlights of his career including a Division III National Championship in 1977 and numerous Regular Season and Conference Championships at Wittenberg University; a 1994 Mid-American Conference Season and Conference Championship on a team led by the "Shaq of the MAC", Gary Trent; and Preseason NIT Tournament Championship the following year at Ohio University. He was named Coach of the Year twice at Wittenberg, once at Ohio, and National Coach of the Year in 1977. His players have earned numerous Conference and All-American honors under his tutelage. He was inducted into the Wittenberg Hall of Honor in 1996 and the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. In the last year, he became one of only 40 NCAA Men's Basketball Coaches all time to reach 700 career victories. He was the 8th winningest active coach in Division I in 2018.
His greatest source of pride was not the wins and losses, honors bestowed, or championships won. It was the love and passion for teaching life skills on the court that would give young men the tools necessary to become the best adults they possibly could be. He did this through his own example of relentless hard work and never quit attitude. As Larry would always say, "Keep Chopping Wood", which he did until the day he died. He placed great emphasis on the "Student" in Student Athlete. All but one player he recruited and completed eligibility, graduated.
A memorial service will be held at The Plains United Methodist Church, 3 N. Plains Road, The Plains, on Saturday, May 19 at 1 p.m. Interment will be in the West Union Street Cemetery, Athens. Family and Friends may call Saturday from 11 a.m. until service time at the church. All are welcome. Local arrangements are with Jagers & Sons Funeral Home, Athens.
Flowers are welcome; those wishing to honor Coach Hunter are asked to make a donation to Wittenberg University Basketball, North Carolina State University Wolfpack Club, or South of the Bully Rescue (SOTB), [email protected]
Please share a memory, a note of condolence, or sign the online register book at www.jagersfuneralhome.com
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store
Published by The Athens Messenger from May 12 to May 14, 2018.