Georgia State men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter said he could eventually retire at the school after signing a six-year contract late Wednesday that will pay him an annual base salary of $350,000, an increase of $50,000 over his previous five-year deal.
“I love the community of Atlanta and Georgia State,” he said. “I could retire here. People think that’s crazy but when you are happy, that’s all that matters.”
Hunter, a funny guy, then added this:
“Plus, I got the No. 1 paper in the country covering me. Why do I need to go somewhere else?”
Hunter guided the Panthers to a 22-12 record last season, the second-most wins in school history. It was Hunter’s first at the school after spending 17 years at IUPUI, where he won 274 games.
Before his first season at Georgia State was over, because of the success, some worried that Hunter would leave for a more prestigious job in a bigger conference. He declined to say if he was contacted by other universities, saying that when you win people call. He said the contract does include “expensive” buyout clauses for both sides and that it has a lot of incentive clauses because he said a coach should earn what he gets. He wouldn’t release those details. An Open Records Request is pending for a copy of the contract.
Hunter said he doesn’t need to go to a BCS-type conference because he coaches better when he’s the underdog.
“I’m not driven by money, I’m driven by happiness,” he said. “I want to build something special. I won’t say what special is. I’m working on that right now.”
Hunter gave a glimpse into those goals, sharing that he told the freshmen on the team that he’ll be disappointed if they don’t make it to the NCAA tournament twice in the next four years. The team will open the season at Duke on Nov. 9.
One of those freshmen is his son R.J., a shooting guard who found out about his dad’s contract from someone on the street. Hunter said R.J. immediately asked for an increase in his allowance. Hunter joked that he’s more happy that he can pay for R.J.’s education if he goes with the six-year plan for graduating.
Hunter said he is very excited about the potential of this year’s team, noting that they have been “very, very impressive” in workouts.
“I want to get our program used to playing in postseason play,” he said.
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu