Part II of Q&A with GSU’s Ron Hunter, and a bit about softball’s big night

Georgia State coach Ron Hunter was finally cleared to talk to reporters (that’s a joke, kind of) after having hip replacement surgery on April 6.

A few things happened while he was recuperating, notably the Panthers joined the Sun Belt Conference. They will begin play in 2013, giving Hunter one more year in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Hunter, usually funny, always confident and brutally honest, offered his thoughts on the move, negative recruiting tactics, last year’s team, and the one player that he forgot to tell about the pending conference change. Here’s Part II. Part I was posted yesterday. (Questions and answers have been paraphrased)

First, Georgia State softball team scored the biggest win in athletics department history when it defeated No. 2 Alabama 5-1 last night. That’s the highest-ranked team any GSU squad has ever beaten in any sport. Kaitlyn Medlam tossed 3 1/3 innings of no-hit relief and Callie Alford drove in two runs for the Panthers.

Whitney Phillips tied the game with a bases-loaded, run-scoring single in the fifth inning. The go-ahead run scored on a wild pitch. Lauren Coleman followed with a bases-loaded walk. Alford hit her two-run single.

Previously, Georgia State’s baseball team held the mark for the highest-ranked team beaten with its victory at No. 3 Georgia Tech in 2009.

On to the Hunter question and answer:

Q: Are any of the recruits or signees asking you about the Sun Belt move?

A: All of them. I had an AAU coach call my son and ask if he wants to play in the Sun Belt. He’s the only player I didn’t talk with about the move. He’s fine with it. Every one of our recruits, we signed these guys based upon us being in the CAA. Would these guys have signed with us if they knew we were in the Sun Belt? I don’t know.

Q: It sounds like a negative difference.

A: I wouldn’t say a negative difference, but a difference.

Q: Any more negative recruiting?

A: Three coaches…I’m sick and tired of college coaches negatively recruiting against me. I’ve called them and said if you negatively recruit against me, I serve on enough committees, I’m going to cause you problems. Take shots at my program, I’m going to take shots back. I don’t negatively recruit.

Q: What kind of problems?

I can do negative recruiting. I can call the NCAA and say you may want to look into so and so.

When I recruit against other schools I don’t say GSU is better than so-and-so. I say this is why you want to be at Georgia State

I called that AAU coach.

We had a talk. Well, I don’t know if it was a talk.

Q: Have you lost any recruits because of the Sun Belt?

A: I lost a potential recruit because of the Sun Belt. But that kid wanted to come here for the wrong reasons.

Q: What are your thoughts about the move?

A: If I’m the President or AD, I think it’s a great move. Sometimes in life decisions are made that aren’t good for individuals but are good for the family. When I made the decision to come to Georgia State I left my family behind for a while. It wasn’t good for them or me, but it will be good for the family.

That’s how I feel about Georgia State. It might not be best decision for all the sports, but it’s good for Georgia State.

Q: Will the Sun Belt be good for basketball?

Q: It’s yet to be seen because of what’s going to happen in the league. Will the CAA be the same in three years? I doubt it. The same is true for the Sun Belt.

As long as the Sun Belt has an automatic bid … the CAA has one, the Sun Belt has one. I think the conference thing is overrated. There are great coaches in the CAA. It’s a great league, great basketball league. We were on our way to be a part of it.

Q: Do you like the move? Until recently the CAA was mostly a one-bid league.

A: In the long run I think it will be good for us.

The CAA has had some great success of late. A lot has to do with what VCU and George Mason.

I loved coaching the CAA. Once of the reasons I came to Georgia State was to coach in the CAA. There are great coaches.

Now my excitement has changed because we are getting ready to take a young, talented team to a place where we aren’t sure about it. I love the unknown. Our conference will change but my excitement level hasn’t changed.

I will say I will be very disappointed if we can’t play in the conference tournament, disappointed for my kids and as a father. If you take that away from a kid for one year, it’s devastating.

Q: Will that take pressure of the team, knowing that they can’t play in a conference tournament?

A: No. conference tournaments, you can’t duplicate conference tournaments. They are one of the greatest things we do in college basketball. If that’s got to be the price, it’s tough price for the kids.

Student-athlete welfare, how can a president look at a student-athlete and penalize them for a decision that the institution made?

If we can’t play in the tournament, I don’t want to play in the conference all year. These kids have four. years. My son will have four years. T.J. will have four years. Those guys lose that opportunity.

Q: Have any of the upperclassmen asked about transferring if it’s ruled that yall can’t play in a conference tournament?

A: No, no transfers. The kids are happy here.

Q: What are the Sun Belt’s strengths?

A: I don’t know a lot about it, but I didn’t know a lot about the CAA or Georgia State. R.J. knows a kid [Courtney Lee] who is from Indianapolis and went to Pike, just like he did. That kid went to Western Kentucky, which is in the Sun Belt, and went to the NBA.

Q: When do you start doing research on the Sun Belt?

A: I was putting the schedule together and I’ve told our kids that we are still in the CAA for one year. Let’s worry about what’s in front of us.

Let’s go out with a bang. I’m sure the CAA doesn’t want GSU to win the CAA. I love making people’s lives miserable. Let’s make people’s lives miserable.

Q: Is the schedule set? Any games you can talk about?

A: It’s 90 percent set right now. We should be able to release it within the next week.

Q: Any big games? Any teases?

A: No. We made a few changes. I need to get the contracts in hand.

Q: Did R.J. waver after the Sun Belt news?

A: No. If he did, I’d just tell his mother [laughs]. The kids all want to be here. I want to recruit players that want to be at Georgia State.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

21 comments Add your comment

panama

April 18th, 2012
7:44 am

And that’s the key. They want to be at GSU. Nice interview.

DownTownATL

April 18th, 2012
8:22 am

great questions! looking forward to the schedule. go panthers!

zgoldatl

April 18th, 2012
8:27 am

Good interview. I hope coach Hunter stays at GSU for a long time. I think this will be a good move in basketball. We will immediately be in contention for conference tourney championships, and therefore NCAA tourney bids, in the Sun Belt. Go Panthers

Panther08

April 18th, 2012
8:32 am

Coach Hunter is GREAT!!! Football wise the Sunbelt is a good move….Basketball wise remains to be seen…

RidgeRunner

April 18th, 2012
8:36 am

I like that CRH gets to the point, not dance around it. No need double space type for there is no reading between the lines.

Sluggo

April 18th, 2012
8:52 am

CRH is vey candid and I love it. Good interview. Part of what makes the CAA so tough for GSU is the built-in advantages of Virginia teams.

Goldberg

April 18th, 2012
9:02 am

The CAA has a good chance of looking completely different in a couple of years. VCU fans seem to think they already have one foot out of the door, and GMU may not be far behind. If the CAA loses its two Final Four teams and replaces them with Coastal Carolina/Stony Brook/Albany, etc. and then the Sun Belt snags Charlotte, the difference in conferences is negligible. Plus, Hunter knows how strenuous the CAA travel schedule can be, the SB will be much easier on him and his players.

STATEment

April 18th, 2012
9:03 am

I think the Sun Belt has potential to be what the CAA is. WKU has had really good teams, MTSU was solid last year. I also think Patino will do well at FIU and I am hoping that we add some basketball strength with expansion… Charlotte, ODU, App. State, etc.

Plus, it doesn’t look like GMU and VCU will be in the CAA much longer so the staying wouldn’t have done much for recruiting in a year or so anyway.

Georgia State will be a name people will here a lot more being in an FBS Conference vs FCS. Football does wonders for all sports. No one would want to go play basketball or any other sports at UGA, Florida, FSU, etc. if they had not had success or seen the popularity they have with football.

They’re Playing Bas. Ket. Ball.

April 18th, 2012
10:55 am

[...] Also, Doug Roberson caught up with Ron Hunter, who didn’t disappoint. This is a two-parter, and my link is to part two, which has the better quotes, as well as a link to part one. [...]

Stated

April 18th, 2012
12:22 pm

The softball team RULES!!! Great win kids, keep the momentum and making us proud.

ajg-marietta

April 18th, 2012
12:28 pm

It will be nice to be in a conference that doesn’t have CAA refs.

GSUAlumBaseball81

April 18th, 2012
2:31 pm

Coach Hunter you are the Man! You will rule the Sun Belt. The CAA will look very different in a couple of years. The move was the right thing to do no doubt. GO PANTHERS!!!

Panther Pride

April 18th, 2012
3:41 pm

Great interview Doug and thanks for the update on softball, big win for the girls. Loved Coach Hunter’s candidness and absolutely loved his statement about what’s not good for the individual may be what’s best for the family.

Weighing the pros and cons I believe this will prove to be a great move for GSU in the long run and hopefully we can keep Coach around long enough to see the better days

Pennsylvania CAA Fan

April 18th, 2012
9:34 pm

After reading about the move on this blog for a while– I now agree– the CAA will look better in one year without the complaining folks from GSU. The drive is too far, the CAA is changing, the refs are bad, it is the VAA blah blah
For a 3-8 powerhouse –you sure are a sensitive bunch.

Hunter knows this is a mistake and has to live with it. “If I’m the President or AD, I think it’s a great move. Sometimes in life decisions are made that aren’t good for individuals but are good for the family.” he said. What a ringing endorsement! He HATES the move. He was hoodwinked and will be gone in a few years.

The big move you football lovers wanted has hurt your best Coach and his program. In a year you can look forward to an empty dome (ok let me be fair -3,000) for the Southern Alabama game and some great “ball”. Buy a big tarp to cover the empty seats.

The more I read the more I like Georgia Southern..

Poor Coach Hunter and the other sports teams.

GSU is in Atlanta

April 18th, 2012
9:58 pm

First: Congrats to the Softball team, great win!

Second: “Let’s go out with a bang. I’m sure the CAA doesn’t want GSU to win the CAA. I love making people’s lives miserable. Let’s make people’s lives miserable.” – CRH thinks the CAA might have good teams, but is run by a bunch of Narcs who know that GSU is the last thing that they care about.

Third: To the Penn CAA Fan: You are not in the South, you are not in the college football capital of America, your school is not going to be invited to the A-10 like VCU and GMU are…keep crying and more importantly keep liking that turd located in Statesboro, GA. Jealousy is a stinky cologne, and we can smell your cologne down here in the South.

GSU is in Atlanta

April 18th, 2012
9:59 pm

First: Congrats to the Softball team, great win!

Second: “Let’s go out with a bang. I’m sure the CAA doesn’t want GSU to win the CAA. I love making people’s lives miserable. Let’s make people’s lives miserable.” – CRH thinks the CAA might have good teams, but is run by a bunch of Narcs who know that GSU is the last thing that they care about.

Third: To the Penn CAA Fan: You are not in the South, you are not in the college football capital of America, your school is not going to be invited to the A-10 like VCU and GMU are…keep crying and more importantly keep liking that cow manure located in Statesboro, GA. Jealousy is a stinky cologne, and we can smell your cologne down here in the South.

GSU TRUE

April 18th, 2012
11:03 pm

Our softball girls are great on and off the field! Could not be a better group of amazing ladies to make history for GSU! Need to get everyone out to cheer them on! Go State!

RidgeRunner

April 19th, 2012
9:19 am

Pennsylvania CAA Fan, it is CAA fans like you that make us very very happy to say goodby as we are running out the door with smiles on our face never again having to again to put up with all the guff we have received from awful CAA bitching, complaining, condescending, and generally obnoxious fans . So if we don’t visit your sites please stay the heck away from ours.

Goldberg

April 19th, 2012
11:50 am

The CAA is falling apart and Yeager doesn’t know what to do. GSU jumped off a sinking ship and VCU and GMU are right behind.

[...] Part II of Q&A with GSU’s Ron Hunter, and a bit about softball’s big nightAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)They will begin play in 2013, giving Hunter one more year in the Colonial Athletic Association. Hunter, usually funny, always confident and brutally honest, offered his thoughts on the move, negative recruiting tactics, last year’s team, …and more » [...]

[...] are some of Hunter’s choice words, courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Q: Are any of the recruits or signees asking you [...]