Vaught's Views: Hunt continues to win

January 12, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

People and things.

* Woody Hunt.

The former Boyle County baseball player has certainly found his niche as the baseball coach at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn.

He's won over 900 games and made his program one of the best in the NAIA. He's been to the NAIA World Series six times and has dominated the Mid-South Conference, one reason he's been a National Coach of the Year Award finalist three times.

Even more impressive is that Hunt has had 36 of his players sign professional baseball contracts and has coached 24 NAIA All-American players.


He has been with the Bulldogs for 24 years and will soon start his 21st season as head coach.

While Hunt might not be a household name in Tennessee athletics, he's certainly been one of the state's most successful coaches while winning over 70 percent of his games.

Since he should record his 1,000th win in 2005 based on his past performances, don't be shocked to see Hunt eventually become the first Boyle County native in the Tennessee Collegiate Hall of Fame.

* NFL playoffs.

Sometimes the NBA or Major League Baseball has a playoff series full of drama and big plays. But nothing compares with the NFL playoffs because one loss ends a team's season.

There could not have been four more dramatic playoff games than the conference semifinal matchups last weekend. Two visiting teams - Indianapolis and Carolina - pulled out victories and Green Bay was within two minutes of becoming the third road team to win before it let Philadelphia rally to win in overtime Sunday.

Even New England was hard pressed to hold off Tennessee in weather better suited for Eskimos than football players Saturday night. The wind chill was minus 20 degrees, but bad weather does not stop football.

"It was so cold there that I had to put on a coat to watch the game on TV," Centre College assistant football coach David Robertson told me Sunday.

He was joking, but it did remind me that football is the only sport where players start the season worrying about heat stroke and end the year worrying about frostbite. It's part of why football is such a terrific sport and one that was only enhanced by the drama of last weekend's NFL playoff games.

* Montgomery Gentry.

Kentucky won't have a basketball game in Rupp Arena on New Year's Eve for the next five years. Instead, Montgomery Gentry has agreed to holiday concerts the next five years like it had last Dec. 31.

"We are really excited to have Rupp Arena locked down for the next five New Year's Eves," said singer Eddie Montgomery of Boyle County. "We are going to turn it up a notch and make it even bigger next year."

However, Montgomery, an avid UK fan, does hope to be back in Rupp Arena again before New Year's Eve. If his schedule permits, he would like to watch the Cats play and be part of the E-Rupp-tion zone where the UK students stand.

"That sounds like it would be fun to me," Montgomery said. "I think I could fit right in with them because no one likes the Cats and Tubby Smith more than me."

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