According to a Georgia State source with knowledge of the situation, IUPUI coach Ron Hunter will be Georgia State’s new men’s basketball coach. The school has called a Monday afternoon news conference to introduce Hunter. The story was first reported on the Wilmington (N.C.) StarNews website Sunday evening.
“Look at VCU, George Mason,” Hunter told the Indianapolis Star Sunday evening, naming other members of the Colonial Athletic Association. “In my opinion, it’s the best mid-major league in the country.”
Shortly after the firing of coach Rod Barnes Feb. 27, Georgia State athletic director Cheryl Levick said she wanted a coach who was a builder and could be a CEO of the program. Hunter has credentials as a builder. Hunter arrived at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis in 1994 when the school was competing in Division II.
His first season, he led the Jaguars to their first winning season in five years. In 1998, he led the school’s transition into Division I and has developed IUPUI into a premier team in the mid-major Summit League. He was twice named the league’s coach of the year and led the Jaguars to their first-ever NCAA tournament berth in 2003.
The Jaguars were 19-14 this season and 12-6 in their conference. Over the past four seasons, IUPUI was 51-21 in the Summit League and Hunter averaged 21.5 wins per season.
“We have to change the culture, just like we did here,” Hunter told the Star.
Hunter has also gained acclaim in the state and in college basketball circles for his commitment to humanitarianism. He is a partner of the non-profit Samaritan’s Feet, which provides shoes for impoverished children all over the world. According to his biography on the school website, he has raised more than 250,000 shoes.
The program did run afoul of NCAA rules when the school erroneously certified players as eligible, which required the team to vacate wins from the 2003-04 season and was docked one scholarship. The NCAA found that no coaches or athletes were knowledgeable of the violations, which were found in all 14 of the school’s teams.