Over 1,600 victories at Cumberland -
LEBANON -- It's official. The end of the 2021 Cumberland University baseball season will bring to a close the Hall of Fame career of three-time NAIA National Championship coach Woody Hunt.
Coach Hunt, 70, broke the news of his impending retirement to final CU team early Wednesday morning in the Benton Jennings Hitting Facility.
"Yes, it's true," Hunt said over the weekend. "It's time. I wanted to get it out now, end all the speculation so we can concentrate on the upcoming season."
Back in October of 2017 Hunt first hinted at retirement during a breakfast gathering of former players.
"Honestly, I'm a little bit tired. When you go this hard for this long it wears on you," he said at the time.
Hunt has coached over 150 NAIA All-Americans and nearly 400 NAIA Scholar-Athletes during his tenure.
During his time at CU, Hunt has served at various times as athletic director as well as coach of both the men's and women's basketball teams -- in addition to his baseball duties.
Two of his former baseball players reached the Major Leagues -- catcher Luis Martinez with the Padres in 2011 and right-handed pitcher Aaron Wilkerson in 2017 with the Brewers.
The Phoenix are scheduled to open the season Feb. 5 in Waleska, Ga. with a three-game series against Reinhardt University.
CU opens the home portion of the season Saturday, Feb. 13 with an 11 a.m. doubleheader vs. Indiana Tech.
As in all things sports-related in 2021, schedules are subject to change, due to COVID-19.
Hunt took over the Cumberland Junior College program from Mickey Englett back in 1982 and has compiled a won-loss record of 1,608-750-5 -- a winning percentage of .680.
His Cumberland teams won the Avista NAIA World Series in 2004, 2010 and 2014 with runner-up finishes in 1995 and 2006.
All told, CU's baseball program has earned spots in 12 NAIA World Series, including some six over a span of 11 seasons between 2004 and 2014.
Coach Hunt has led the program to 20 regular season conference championships, including 10 in the Tennessee Collegiate Athletic Conference, six in the Mid-South Conference and four in the TranSouth Athletic Conference. CU has four district championships, 12 NAIA regional titles and has played in five NAIA super regionals.
The program has posted 40 or more victories 24 times, including 20 of the last 27 years, while registering 50 or more wins eight times, all since 1997.
The 2004 squad set the school-record for victories with 59, followed closely behind by the 2010 squad with a 58-9 mark.
The Phoenix have produced 69 NAIA All-Americans, including 2010 National Player of the Year Matt Greener and Steve Green, the only three-time All-American in the storied history of the program.
Some 99 of Hunt's former players have gone on to sign professional contracts.
Hunt has also achieved individual success, claiming 17 Coach of the Year honors, including the 2006 and 2010 Rawlings National Coach of the Year awards.
He is a seven-time Southeast Region Coach of the Year and has also been a finalist for the National Coach of the Year Award four times.
In 2020, Hunt received the Pat Summit Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. He is a member of the following Halls of Fame: Cumberland University Sports HoF, Tennessee Sports HoF, the American Baseball Coaches Association HoF, the Boyle County Sports HoF and the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Assoc. HoF.
A native of Danville, Ky., Hunt served in the United States Marine Corps and is a longtime member of Immanuel Baptist Church where he teaches Sunday School classes.
He and his wife Irma are the parents of sons Scott and Ryan. Scott coaches and teaches at Stewarts Creek Middle School in Smyrna while Ryan is the head baseball coach at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin.