Beyond the Scoreboard: Larry Hunter steps down as coach of Catamounts

Larry Hunter encourages his team from the sideline (WLOS Staff).jpg

WLOS - Larry Hunter has stepped down as men’s basketball coach at Western Carolina after 13 seasons.

Hunter, who won his 700th game this season, left the program just hours after a 97-73 loss to Furman at the Southern Conference tournament.

The veteran coach, whose 38-year career included a record of 702-453, was 193-229 in his time with the Catamounts.

The program had struggled through four straight losing seasons, and is 22-42 over the past two years, including 13-19 this season.

“Sometimes when you’ve been at one place for a number of years, it’s just time for new leadership, a new voice,” Hunter said in a statement the school released on Sunday.

“In the 13 years that I’ve been associated with Western Carolina University, I’ve seen a tremendous positive change at both the university and within the athletics department – and it’s been fun to be a part of some of that change.

“With regards to the men’s basketball program, I was brought here to add some stability and do things the right way. I feel during my time in Cullowhee, we’ve done just that. But, at this time, I feel that it’s time for some new team leadership.”

“We are so very grateful and thank Larry for his hard work and dedication to our men’s basketball program during his career in Cullowhee,” said WCU athletic director Randy Eaton.

Hunter is among 40 NCAA men’s basketball coaches all-time to win 700 or more games. Among active NCAA head coaches, Hunter ranks eighth in overall career victories with 702.

Hunter led the Catamounts to a pair of SoCon division titles in 2009 and 2011, and twice reached the league’s tournament title game (2012 and ’14).

His 22-12 team in 2009-10 is the only 20-plus win season the Catamounts have had since becoming a Division I program.

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