Hunter enjoying time in Nigeria helping others

Georgia State men's basketball coach Ron Hunter poses with some children in Nigeria.

Georgia State men's basketball coach Ron Hunter poses with some children in Nigeria.

Halfway around the world, Ron Hunter was reminded of home on Monday.

In Nigeria to help Samaritan’s Feet, a charitable organization he works with, give away thousands of pairs of shoes to children, Hunter was approached by a man.

“What do you know about Georgia State?” the man asked, looking at the shirt Hunter was wearing.

After explaining that he coaches the basketball team, the man, an American and executive with an oil company who lives in the country, said, “When you get back to Atlanta, please tell my daughter I love her.”

His daughter, Apryl Goodwin, finished her last season on the university’s women’s soccer team in 2010.

“It was unbelievable to see the parent of a student-athlete all the way in

Hunter washes the feet of a child before giving him a free pair of shoes, courtesy of Samaritan's Feet.

Hunter washes the feet of a child before giving him a free pair of shoes, courtesy of Samaritan's Feet.

Nigeria,” he said.

Of course, that was just a bonus. Hunter is there to help the less fortunate.

Calling from a town somewhere between Lagos and Victoria Island, Hunter said it’s raining. Looking out a window, he said people are just standing in the rain.

“The poverty is …I wish people could see what I see,” he said. “It’s raining, people have nowhere to go. In America, when it rains you go inside. There’s no inside for these people.”

They gave away 1,000 pairs of shoes on Tuesday. Unfortunately, more than 5,000 children showed up. Samaritan’s Feet has to pace the number of shoes it gives away to ensure it has enough to hand out at each stop. Otherwise, they could run out quickly.

“That’s the hard part,” he said. “The little kids don’t understand. That’s the hard part for me.”

Tomorrow will be Hunter’s last stop before he has to make his way back to Lagos to fly to Atlanta. The group that remains will head to an island where there’s a school with 500 kids.

“I wish I could stay longer,” he said.

The trip has drawn the attention of journalists in the country. Hunter said he’s done his best to explain Georgia State to the reporters, one of whom had a harder time than the others. He thought Hunter coached the Atlanta Hawks.

“It took so long to explain it to him I just let him think that,” Hunter said.

He said emotionally he’s exhausted, but he’s already looking forward to hopefully bringing his team back to Nigeria next year to help Samaritan’s Feet.

“I want them to see what the culture is about,” he said. “These people have nothing but the smiles on their faces. When they get their shoes they light up like it’s Christmas.”

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu.

12 comments Add your comment

WJB

June 21st, 2011
12:10 pm

Great article! Go Panthers! Great job CRH.

Downtown Blue

June 21st, 2011
12:38 pm

Go Panthers!!

GStateBen

June 21st, 2011
12:40 pm

Thanks Doug! Great job CRH! Glad to call you our Coach!

FRH

June 21st, 2011
12:40 pm

Great job by Coach Hunter, great ambassador for GSU

GSU Rocks

June 21st, 2011
2:59 pm

Great to see Georgia State athletics giving back!

Hammer22

June 21st, 2011
3:28 pm

This guy is a world class act.

itsmeagain

June 21st, 2011
5:17 pm

Awesome to see people around the world who know about or participate with Georgia State. Just hope those people become and stay fans of our athletics

Eagles are Endangered

June 21st, 2011
8:50 pm

Great job to see such an outstanding man and coach giving back to the world community!

Jaydub

June 21st, 2011
9:25 pm

Coach Hunter doing work. Good work.

Gene

June 22nd, 2011
8:26 am

This may be the guy to put GSU Basketball on the map. Good Luck, Coach.

STATEment

June 22nd, 2011
10:49 am

Seems like we have a great guy in charge of the program. I can’t wait until tip off 2011.

Panama

June 23rd, 2011
5:03 pm

Making us GSU PROUD