Geoff Hunter, or simply Coach, as he is known throughout campus, is the longest serving head coach of a sport in Bluefield State College history. Spring 2016 will be his 32nd season leading the baseball program at BSC and 36th year as a head coach at the college level. Coach also teaches full-time in the W. Paul Cole, Jr. School of Business where he holds the rank of Associate Professor. His contributions in academics were recognized by his peers when he received the Outstanding Faculty Award at Bluefield State’s graduation ceremony in 2010.
When asked about his long career and why he chose to stay so many years in the same place, he says “I have been blessed with the greatest job in the world because I have had the chance to influence both students and athletes in a positive way on a daily basis. I have always felt that there is no greater contribution that any of us can make in our careers than to help a young person. I will always appreciate BSC for providing me with this opportunity.”
As far as what has kept him going, Coach will tell you “I still enjoy going to practice and I have always loved to compete. Further, I have had the pleasure of working with many fine people in my time at Bluefield State College and am extremely proud to be able to claim many of them as my friends. Since we started the program in 1985, I feel like I have had some of the best assistant coaches anyone could ask for including John Cardwell, Troy “T-Bird” Hawks, Bobby Via, Mark Oblinger, Chris Black, Rusty Poe, Matt Blevins, and Robert Haggerty. It takes quality players to have a quality program, but any head coach will tell you that your program can only be as good as your assistant coaches. Each of these individuals stayed with us for a number of years providing continuity so that our program could remain viable through both the good times as well as the challenging ones. They certainly didn’t do it for the money and each one was a great mentor to and example for our kids. And, of course, the key to my longevity has been the love and support of my wife, Debbie, who also taught for many years at BSC and now holds faculty emeritus status at the institution. She has made many sacrifices to allow me to do what I do and for some reason she has been willing to put up with me all these years. She is simply the best.”
Coach maintains “The fact that our Bluefield State College baseball program has kept its priorities straight since the very beginning has enabled us to maintain our credibility and reputation both on campus and with rival schools that we have built relationships with over the years. We are a worthy opponent that always shows up, plays hard, and shakes hands when the game is over. The players in our program have consistently placed their values in the following order of importance: faith, family, school, baseball, and everything else, which has, in turn, resulted in squads with good character and high graduation rates. Our team motto is ‘go to class, work hard, enjoy the game’ and that is exactly what is expected of each participant.”
When asked how long he planned to keep going, Coach stated “As long as it’s still fun, my health is good, the support is adequate, and the administration still wants me to represent BSC. Not too many people get a chance to be a head coach at the college level for as many years as I have and even fewer get to stay at the same place for so long, and I don’t take my situation for granted. I guess I have coached more games, won more games, and lost more games than anyone else has here at Bluefield State, but that’s not what is important. For me, it has been a privilege to work all this time with the student-athletes who have come through our baseball program and I hope in some small way we have helped each of them to become better and more productive people. Their successes, rather than the wins and losses, will be my legacy as an educator and a coach.”
Coach lives in Princeton, WV and Fancy Gap, VA with his wife Debbie and two dogs Yogi and Cooper. They are active members at First Christian Church in Princeton, WV where they both serve as deacons, and where Coach drives the church bus when his schedule permits. “I’ve had a lot of practice getting people to the game on time,” says Coach.