York College Assistant Dean for Athletics and Recreation Paul Saikia is proud to announce that Matt Hunter has been named the Spartans' new Head Men's Basketball and Golf coach. Hunter replaces long-time head coach Jeff Gamber who is retiring after 35 years at the helm of both Spartan programs.
Hunter comes to York College after spending the last four seasons as a full time assistant coach at DeSales University. The Bulldogs went 84-32 during Hunter's tenure on the DeSales bench. The Bulldogs went to a pair of NCAA Tournaments as they advanced to the Elite Eight in 2008-09 and to the Sweet 16 in 2009-10. DeSales won two MAC Freedom Conference championships and played in the championship game in three of the four years he was with the program.
"This is a real transition for us," says Saikia. "Coach Gamber was a constant for us for so long, it was important for us to actually identify what we wanted moving forward. In the end, we found that in Matt--he is a proven recruiter, he is energetic, methodical, hungry, balanced, and committed to growing with us."
Hunter is excited to get on campus and get started.
"First, I want to thank Dr. Waldner, Dean Merkle, Paul Saikia and all the members of the search committee for this great opportunity," states Hunter. "I am very excited about becoming the next men's basketball and golf coach. I can't wait to get on campus, meet the players and begin working for next season and beyond. Coach Gamber has set a great standard of excellence and I look forward to being able to continue that tradition."
Hunter is no stranger to the Capital Athletic Conference as he was a three-year letter winner at Salisbury University. He graduated from Salisbury with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education in May of 2005. He posted a GPA of 3.62, as he was a three-time CAC All-Academic team selection. Hunter was a two-year captain for the Sea Gulls' men's basketball squad.
Hunter has a very definitive idea of what he wants from his Spartan teams.
"I want players who are, first and foremost, great people," says the new Spartan mentor. "Being good students and good players are important but I feel kids with great character will provide us with our best chance to be champions. I want our players to have a mindset of hard work and dedication. I also want them to have the willingness to sacrifice for their teammates."
Prior to Hunter's stop at DeSales, he was on the staff at The College of New Jersey. While at TCNJ, Hunter was thrust into the role of interim head coach for the 2007-08 season at the age of 24. Prior to being named as the interim coach, he served as a TCNJ part-time assistant for the 2005-06 season. He then moved to the full-time assistant position for the 2006-07 campaign.
"One of the qualities that drew us to Matt is that he had head coaching experience and that he had taken on that role at a time when he was probably not fully prepared," says Saikia. "It shows a lot of confidence--something we want to see in all of our coaches. We also see a very realistic sense with Matt about how to get things done. It's not magic--you have to bring in the right student-athletes, establish a system and a philosophy that makes sense, and then work your butt off. He gets that."
Hunter knows what he wants his teams to project.
"I want our teams to be recognized as ones that work hard, play together and play the game the right way. We will respect the game, the opponent and the process of improving as individuals and as a team. I believe that the saying 'Character is who you are when nobody is watching' will be very true of both our basketball players and our golfers."
Hunter also brings an enthusiasm for the golf program.
"Obviously the golf team has been very successful under coach Gamber and I am looking to continue that success," states Hunter. "It will be a responsibility that I embrace and I want to work with those student-athletes to get the best out of them on the course and the classroom."
Hunter begins his on campus duties on July 1.