June 6, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Western Carolina University and head men's basketball coach Larry Hunter have agreed to terms on a new contract with three years guaranteed with additional option years as announced by Director of Athletics Randy Eaton Friday.
"I am excited to extend the relationship between Coach Hunter and WCU Athletics," Eaton said. "His commitment to our student-athletes, both on the court and in the classroom, is an example to all of our coaches and staff. I look forward to the future success of our men's basketball program with Larry at the helm. His teams have come very close in recent years to winning the Southern Conference Tournament, and I anticipate we will finally cross that hurdle in the very near future."
Hunter, who led the Catamounts to a 19-15 overall and a 10-6 record in the Southern Conference in 2013-14, is the 10th active winningest coach in the NCAA with 649 career wins in 33 seasons as a head coach. During his tenure at WCU, Hunter has guided the Catamounts to 140-152 overall record for a .479 winning percentage and an 81-79 SoCon for a .506 winning percentage. His 140 wins in nine seasons are third all-time in the Catamount record books and his 81 SoCon wins place him atop the coaching record books. Hunter posted WCU's first 20-win season in 38 years when his 2009-10 team went 22-12. His teams have finished tied for first in the north division twice, 2008-09 and 2010-11, and second once, 2009-10. During the post season, Hunter has guided the Catamounts to two semifinal appearances in the Southern Conference Tournament and two championship games. His 86-32 record in Cullowhee for a .729 winning percentage is the best among WCU's 18 head coaches. He has coached five All-Southern Conference players as voted on by the coaches with Trey Sumler being honor twice, 2012-13 and 2013-14. The league's media has tabbed his players to postseason honors nine times.
"We are very thankful to have the opportunity to coach and direct the men's basketball program at Western Carolina University," Hunter said. "We will continue to operate the program with great integrity and class, while striving to make positive contributions to WCU and the region along with winning Southern Conference championships."
"Coach Hunter and I stand hand-in-hand when it comes to placing student athlete experience and academics first," Eaton said. "I look forward to continuing our relationship and working together to continually surpass our academic goals while also bringing a championship back to Cullowhee."
In the classroom Hunter's teams' have been recognized with the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate Public Recognition Award in back-to-back seasons, 2011-12 and 2012-13. Eight times his players have earned Southern Conference All-Academic Winter Team honors and 17 times his players have been named to the SoCon Honor Roll.
"I have great respect for the people I work for and with in the department and at the University," Hunter added. "I am deeply committed to the student-athlete concept. We will continue to work hard to improve our program, to help the young people we touch grow as individuals and to learn how to work to be the best they can be."