A view of the man from the eyes of a student reporter
Kyle Bruderer | Sports Writer | @brudkyle
Photo credit: Gabi Campbell | Photo Editor | @gabicampbellphotos
Photo Credit: My encounters with coach Hunsaker
As many of you already know, Dick Hunsaker recently announced that he is stepping down after 13 years as head coach of the Utah Valley University men’s basketball team. There’s been a lot of speculation regarding the reason for his decision. Rumors have been floating around about alleged unnecessary verbal abuse by Hunsaker toward the players and the athletic department not wanting to re-sign him to a new contract because of it.
For me personally, I’m not here to point fingers or lay blame. I have had a number of opportunities to interview and even casually speak with Coach Hunsaker. I would like to share a couple of those experiences.
In October of last year I decided to go to the Western Athletic Conference “Media Day” in Las Vegas to represent the media of UVU. I didn’t receive any funding from UVU but I still wanted the experience so I paid for the trip and drove myself. Nearly the entire day was spent asking the men’s and women’s head basketball coaches from the WAC about the upcoming season. I was having a great time and felt like I was getting pretty good at asking quality questions. The final coach to sit up at the podium was Hunsaker.
I was a little bit nervous because other members of the media had told me that he didn’t like being interviewed and he would likely be mean. I asked Hunsaker a few questions about the new team, loss of the previous year’s seniors, and what to expect in the future. As I was trying to ask a question he interrupted me during the live broadcast and said “I’m waiting for just one person to ask me how we’re going to defend our championship!” I was pretty surprised that he would just cut me off like that so rudely, but I asked a couple more questions and the press conference was over.
Before heading back to my hotel room I went into the media hospitality room to grab a drink and I found myself all alone in the room with Hunsaker. Initially I was afraid that he’d yell at me some more but to my surprise he was incredibly friendly. We ended up just talking about basketball for probably thirty minutes. When he found out that I paid for the trip myself just to come and interview the coaches he shook my hand in respect and even offered to set up an interview with former UVU star and current Los Angeles Laker, Ronnie Price.
In a more recent encounter with Coach Hunsaker, he gave me a free UVU men’s basketball shirt and was kind enough to give me a few pointers on coaching since I have been coaching Jr. Jazz basketball for several years. He even sent me a text the next day telling me that he enjoyed hearing about my passion for the game.
Obviously I don’t know what it’s like to be in a UVU jersey and endure the coaching styles of Hunsaker, but I do know that he has helped me move forward in my pursuit of becoming a broadcaster and a journalist. Every man has multiple sides to him; it’s the nature of being human. This is only one side of Couch Hunsaker. Everyone who interacts with him sees one for them selves.