Since beginning his teaching and football coaching career at Scotland High School in the summer of 2007, David Hunt has seen no less than three head coaches take the reins for the varsity Fighting Scots: Mark Barnes, Chip Williams and Richard Bailey.
While many young aspiring coaches may have seen the frequent changes as a negative, Hunt viewed these experiences as a prime opportunity to learn from coaches he calls “some of the best.”
And after a Scotland career that has seen him find championship success at every level he’s coached, Hunt officially accepted an offer to become the new varsity football coach of West Wilkes High School.
“People talk about working under the same person for years, but then you end up having that same experience year after year,” Hunt said. “To be a part of new experiences and see how these great coaches approach the game of football was unbelievable for me, being that I was a young coach that needed to learn how to run a successful program. I’ll always remember my time at Scotland as a place that gave me a shot to soak up great resources and great information from great people.”
In six seasons with the Fighting Scots, Hunt’s resume includes a four-year stint as the junior varsity head coach where his Scotland squads won three consecutive conference championships spanning the 2009-11 seasons. The apex of that run came when Hunt’s teams enjoyed a 25-game stretch that yielded just a single loss.
Working as a varsity assistant for both Williams and Bailey, Hunt also played an integral role in Scotland’s back-to-back conference championship seasons, including the Scots’ undefeated 4-A state championship season in 2011. Most recently, Hunt was the defensive line coach (his first year ever) under Bailey for a team that held opponents to just 12 points-per-game en route to a 12-2 season and one win shy of a second consecutive state championship appearance.
Hunt was selected to lead the West Wilkes High School varsity Blackhawks shortly after Scotland’s loss to New Bern in the fourth round of the 4-A state playoffs.
“I give much of the credit to the talented coaches I worked with, as well as the players that I had the pleasure of coaching here at Scotland,” Hunt said. “The best coaches are copycats who see what works and make it their own, and I’ve had the opportunity to do that these past six years. When it comes to players, you need athletes to win games but great overall people to compete at the state level, and I was fortunate to have those type of guys to lean and rely upon.”
As part of the 2-A Mountain Valley conference, the Blackhawks out of Wilkes County, N.C. finished 5-7 in the 2012 season before losing in the second round of the 2-A playoffs to eventual state runner-up Swain County.
When he begins fulfilling his coaching duties at West Wilkes, Hunt will look to mesh the formula for success he helped establish at Scotland with the tried-and-true approach that has defined Blackhawks’ football for years, perhaps best exemplified by defensive coordinator David Beck who has held his position for more than 30 years.
And while he hasn’t yet had the opportunity to address his future players and coaching staff, Hunt already has plans in place for putting his stamp on the program.
“I’ll make things clear about my expectations right from the get-go, which is talking about winning a state championship immediately,” Hunt said. “My time at Scotland will be used as an example to show them that I’ve been there in the past, and that I know what it takes to get there again.”
Hunt will make the move to Wilkes County in the early part of 2013 along with wife of nine years Erin (currently a Biology teacher at SHS) and 6-year-old daughter Nena. A former English teacher of five years at the high school himself, Hunt will teach weight-training at WWHS as he prepares to begin a new chapter in his career.
But as his family prepares for their future, Hunt hopes that his time in Scotland will be remembered for his contributions as both a teacher and coach.
“I hope to be known as someone that worked hard, cared a lot about his students and athletes and that I played a part in a few great football years,” Hunt said. “Being part of the Scotland community was one of the best things that’s ever happened to my family and me, and I feel I’ve grown tremendously during my time in Laurinburg.”