IUPUI's Hunter is genuine article

August 13, 2008
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
hunterIUPUI men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter has been criticized for being over emotional and too demonstrative during games. Some Div. I athletic directors and basketball coaches have told me that trait has held back the affable Jaguars coach from landing another—bigger—job. Outside of Cleveland State calling a couple years ago, Hunter hasn’t gotten much of a sniff. This snub comes despite Hunter’s ability to put together a solid program in the shadows of Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame, not to mention Butler. Last year, the Jags were 26-7, playing out of a gym most high schools would consider unacceptable.

I don’t profess to know how a basketball coach is supposed to act during a game. I can tell you that after watching an IUPUI game or two, Hunter certainly is animated on the sidelines. But I disagree that his actions are mere theatrics. Far from it.

I don’t know Hunter well. In fact, I’ve only spoken to him once. But over the last month, I’ve learned a lot about the man. As a journalist, I am paid to think critically and measure things with a skeptical eye. Last season, when Hunter emerged to coach a game barefooted, I admit I thought it looked a lot like a publicity stunt. And it worked, landing Hunter and IUPUI in the local and national media spotlight.

Then Hunter did something that blew me away. While the Hoosier nation was gnashing its teeth over Sampson-gate and new coach Tom Crean was bemoaning school-imposed recruiting restrictions—and the rest of the world was focused on the Beijing Olympics, Hunter packed up boxes containing 3,000 pairs of shoes and headed for Peru. He pulled three of his players out of summer workouts and himself and his assistant coaches off the recruiting trail to serve the poorest of the poor. For 12 days, they washed kids’ feet. They gave them shoes. They prayed with Peruvian children with few opportunities for advancement and even less reason to have any hope. They wiped their own tears away even as the Peruvians inexplicably smiled from ear to ear.

The trip itself gained little media attention. Hunter’s team gained no on-court advantage for next season. And none of that seemed to matter.

“I took my players completely out of their comfort zone, to places they didn’t know, to do things they didn’t understand and they were incredible,” Hunter told ESPN.com. “I wish every coach in America could experience this with his players. I know there are coaches who win national championships, who go to Final Fours. If you told me I had to exchange this experience with my players for a Final Four, I’d say keep your Final Four. This will stay with me far longer.”

Ron Hunter may be theatrical. But in my book, he’s no actor. And IUPUI should be happy to have him.
ADVERTISEMENT
  • Hunter is a great guy and IUPUI should be proud to have him as a coach. Here is the link for the group he worked with http://www.samaritansfeet.org/
    They are hoping to get more college coaches participating raising awareness of their organization and need around the world.
  • i couldn't agree more. they don't get near the respect they deserve. they should consider playing games in conseco next year or in the years to come against other state rivals. he was recently on the mike and mike talk show on espn a week ago and had a tremendous interview that i think opened an eye to a large following that tunes in to them over the radio, t.v., and internet. good work hunter.. keep it up.
  • I have never personally seen this man in action, but I cannot imagine him to be more theatrical than another big name Indiana college basketball coach - who shall remain nameless - whom lots of people seem to love. I think it is improtant to be a good person as well as a good coach, this man seems to be working very hard at both.

Post a comment to this blog

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.

ADVERTISEMENT