Hunt retires (well, sort of)
Hunt retires (well, sort of)
It’s a typical summer for Gregg Hunt. A couple of trips to his cottage in Cape Code mixed in with a full complement of Twister baseball camps. Throw in his duties as Deputy Commissioner of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) and he is a man in a contented mood.
To a degree, however, it is a bit of a façade. While it is very much a traditional summer for Hunt it is also a transitional summer sandwiched between the old and a much anticipated if unclear new.
Normally at the end of August Hunt would be ready to put away the shorts and all the baseball paraphernalia in exchange for the suit and tie and a trip back to the classroom at Wamogo High. Not this time around.
This is Hunt’s endless summer. After 33 years in the classroom as a business teacher, 27 at the Gilbert School and the last six at Wamogo, the long-time area coach put his last day in several weeks ago, joining the ranks of the retired.
The 55 year-old Hunt walks away a happy man, pleased with his decision to become a teacher – “I don’t regret the road I took. As much as there are struggles it has been very rewarding. I’m happy with the way things fell and look forward to a new challenge.”
But Hunt’s retirement brings about some questions. What about his `other’ teaching? As good as he has been in the classroom, and legions of parents and students will tell you he’s been top-notch, Hunt has been as good maybe even better on the coaching sidelines.
He has been a staple of excellence on the baseball bench and basketball sidelines while earning accolades as a top-notch soccer official. And he has done it here, there and almost everywhere.
Hunt coached basketball at Nonnewaug for five seasons, Terryville for six seasons and has been Wamogo’s guiding force for the last 18 seasons. When the spring rolls around, Hunt has turned to the smaller ball. He piloted Thomaston for nine baseball seasons, Terryville for four years and Wamogo the last seven seasons.
There have been state championship game appearances with Thomaston in 1985 and Terryville in 1992, both tough losses. There are BL titles with Thomaston, Terryville and Wamogo in 2011. There is a basketball championship game appearance. All of this to go with numerous stints with area recreation programs like the highly successful Bethlehem Plowboys of the Tri-State Baseball League.
Hunt has been a lot of parts technical knowledge with a strong infusion of discipline and values. And he has always stood up for his values. At Terryville when two players decided to go on a spring trip, Hunt made a deal with them that when they came back they could play but would not receive a letter at the end of the season.
The players agreed. When the Athletic Director reversed that agreement and gave the players a letter, Hunt resigned. He has always stood for principle. Wamogo knows all about this Hunt. When he announced his retirement, one of the first questions was whether he was going to continue coaching.
Hunt gave them the answer they were looking for.
“I’m still going to do everything,” Hunt said. “I still enjoy coaching. I’ve said to people, now my work won’t interfere with my work.”
So rest easy Wamogo faithful. Coach Hunt is going nowhere. At the same time though he understands the winds of time have led to change and the search for opportunities. Baseball figures into it all.
Hunt has been the THE area baseball guy. Until two years ago he was the only coach the Torrington Twisters / Titans had ever had. He has coached high schools, teenagers and future major leaguers like Stephen Strasburg. Baseball has always been a major pull and will continue to be.
“I’m looking for something in baseball, I’ve got some options,” said Hunt. “And I’m in a situation where I don’t have to jump on something.”
With retirement from teaching so fresh, Hunt is pretty mum about the options. But, there are connections through his duties with the NECBL and he has had fun learning the administration part of the game to go with the coaching aspect.
He throws out the idea of coaching in college either as a head coach or assistant. He wants to look in the possibility of scouting. He’s got time and like he says, options.
There’s also some time coming up for fun. He has friends who have always gone to play a baseball tournament in the fall (yes, play) and this fall Hunt will be going to play in Fort Meyers, Fla.
Consistently asked to give baseball lessons, he now has the time to do so. Bottom line, these are good days for Gregg Hunt. Lots of time and lots of options
These are good days for Wamogo and the area, too. Hunt plans on sticking around, the baseball uniform and the basketball tie are going nowhere. Still some teaching to be done with a lot more time to do it.
Retirement? Not quite.