Hunt Crosses Finish Line

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After 31 years at the helm and a disappointing final season, Erv Hunt stepped down as Cal's director of track and field last week.

Hunt leaves the program as the winningest coach in the 102-year history of Cal track and field. He led the men to 247 dual meet victories and a .765 winning percentage and also had a .700 winning percentage with the women's program.

However, this spring marked one of the program's worst seasons to date. The men's team finished last and the women second-to-last at the Pac-10 Championships in May.

Hunt's sudden resignation has obviously affected many of the program's athletes.

"Coach Hunt really taught me the tricks of the trade," Cal intermediate hurdler Ahmad Wright said. "He was more than a coach, but a good friend."

Others, though saddened about Hunt's decision, were not surprised.

"I love Coach Hunt, but I had kind of seen it coming," sophomore Rubin Williams said. "He seemed to not have the same excitement as he did in the past."

Hunt will now hold a new executive administrative position in the athletic department, created specifically for him. The exact responsibilties of the position have yet to be determined.

"Erv and I have been coaching colleagues and friends since he first arrived at Cal 30 years ago," said Cal athletic director Steve Gladstone in a statement. "In recent months we have engaged in informal conversations about his future wishes and plans. It became quite apparent that the best interests of both Erv and the athletic department could be served by creating this position for him."

During his three decades with the program, Hunt helped develop 90 All-Americans.

At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Hunt served as the United States men's track and field head coach.

Hunt became the Bears' coach at 25 years of age, the youngest ever at the time, his own promising athletic career having ended early due to a back injury.

Hunt excelled in football at Fresno State, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997, and was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 1970 NFL Draft. He played two years of professional football before the back injury.

Last week's announcement leaves some major question marks around the track. It is unclear what ramifications the change will have on the rest of the coaching staff.

"This move places our position coaches in possible jeopardy," Williams said. "(That) would then hurt someone like me who is in the middle of his collegiate career."

However, some of the athletes do not feel that the solution lies somewhere other than simply changing the people around the program.

"A change is not needed in personnel or coaching, but in attitude," Cal jumper Jason Gatewood said. "That's what we need to get back where we belong, at the top of the Pac-10 rankings."

Gladstone said that a national search for Hunt's replacement is already underway.


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