Save the job of the beloved Coach Hunter at Bluefield State College
Save the job of the beloved Coach Hunter at Bluefield State College
Geoff Hunter, better known around the city of Bluefield as “Coach”, has been the head coach at Bluefield State College for 35 seasons. During this time, he led a competitive and respectful program that rarely had any on or off the field issues. Not only is Coach an exceptional teacher of the game, he is also exceptional at guiding young men to be the leaders of the future. His program has a high graduation rate and has produced countless successful individuals. Coach has helped young men learn the values and drive it takes to become United States Army Officers, business leaders, STEM teachers, non-profit organization leaders, college coaches, lawyers, physical therapists, etc. Athletes that go through his program end up not only being successful individuals; they end up replicating his positive impact on their lives to others around them.
Coach has demonstrated that providing a quality experience in college should be the number one priority of any person in his position. He tries to take a memorable trip with his teams at least once a year. Whether that is going to Alabama for a week during spring break, going to see a Winston-Salem Dash game, or even visiting The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, Coach creates a unique experience every year.
Another great thing about Coach is that he is very in tune with the level of talent of his teams. He always schedules a tough, competitive schedule filled with quality NCAA Division 2 opponents. He calls his players “road warriors”, because they usually play around 80 percent of their games on the road. His teams get to experience things few other programs do. For example, in 2015, Bluefield State played in front of 1,200 people at Pack the Park for Education Night on the road against Tusculum. Many of Coach’s former players have also gotten the opportunity to play at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, NC where the NCAA D2 baseball championship is held every year. Others have gotten to play at BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where the White Sox Class A-Advanced affiliate, Winston-Salem Dash, play.
Coach is very personable and up front with his teams. Every athlete knows their role when they play for Coach, and he gives everyone equal opportunity to earn playing time. Coach has spent 35+ loyal and dedicated years as an outstanding professor and coach at Bluefield State College that cannot just be replaced. He has helped guide the Bluefield State baseball program during one of the most trying times in school history.
Coach Hunter has always had the drive to "play the games". In years when Bluefield State was not in a conference, Coach made sure to do the right thing for his players. It may seem simple to others, but Coach always made a valiant effort to try to play as many regular season games as allowed (50). For a northern baseball school with no true home field, it is extremely difficult to play a full schedule. Coach cares about winning just as much as anyone, but he realizes that college baseball is bigger than that. It’s about giving young people an opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime. Coach often talks about former players calling him. The main memories they have from their time at Bluefield State come from playing the games; no matter the circumstances. Coach has made a constant effort to serve his community and team by giving them the chance to build as many memories as possible.
Under the leadership of Coach Hunter, Bluefield State has become an exciting club to watch. From 2017 to 2018, Bluefield State increased its team run production by around 70%. In 2019, Bluefield State maintained their potent offense by scoring over 7 runs per game. Bluefield State increased its win total and winning percentage each year from 2016-2018. 2019 was set up to be an even better year, but Bluefield State had an unfortunate year with pitching injuries. EIGHT Bluefield State College pitchers suffered injuries that caused them to miss extensive playing time during the 2019 season. That is a staggering number for any sport, let alone for a single position as important as pitching is to baseball. These injuries paved the way for FIFTEEN losses by 2 runs or less. Six of those losses came via walk-offs. If Bluefield State would have closed out just one of those games, the win total would have increased for 4 consecutive years. If Bluefield State wins just 5 of fifteen of those games, their record would have improved to 22-22: a .500 record with only 25% true home games and 3 post season victories.
The past few seasons Coach Hunter had five different players named to the ALL-ICAA baseball team including the pitcher of the year in 2018. Coach Hunter also had one player named to the Black College Nines 2018 HBCU post season elite team, while two players made the 2019 team. Statistically speaking, coach has produced two of the best hitters in the USCAA over the past two years. They both had good enough stats to be in contention for league MVP in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Here is a quote pulled from Bluefield State’s athletic website. 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 has always put the success and lives of others above his own. He has spent over half his life serving others at Bluefield State College and has done an excellent job preparing young men for life after college. He has had multiple athletes play professional baseball for independent league and MLB minor league affiliate teams. He has done just what he set out to do and that is to help young men realize their potential and become better, more successful people. For that reason alone, Coach deserves the chance to continue doing what the community of Bluefield needs him to do, coach baseball at Bluefield State College.
A former Captain of the Big Blues Baseball program had this to say about his relationship and time with Coach Hunter at BSC, “It was always a dream of mine to play baseball at the next level after high school. Coach Hunter allowed me to live this dream by allowing me to walk on to his program when he could have easily said there is not enough room. What transpired after he allowed me to pursue my dreams of playing baseball while getting a college degree at BSC was a long-lasting mentorship/friendship that I cherish to this day. During my time at BSC, Coach Hunter was always a positive influence and had an ear to listen when classes got tough or something happened outside of ball and school. Even when our team had to travel for most of our season, he always found a way to make sure we had adequate resources and time to excel in the classroom and on and off the field. I am proud to say that my dreams were fulfilled, and I have an engineering degree that has helped me work toward new dreams and goals in part to the guidance that Coach provided me. It would be such a shame to deny such a great mentor and coach to another up and coming student athlete that wants to play under Coach Hunter for the baseball program at BSC. I can’t think of a better person to continue to lead the program and mold future professionals the way Coach Hunter has.”