Former WCU coach, NC State assistant Larry Hunter dies

Coach, who amassed 700 wins, had massive stroke earlier in the week

Larry Hunter earned his 700th win last season at WCU before stepping down. He died May 4 following a massive stroke earlier in the week. He was 68. (Photo courtesy Western Carolina University)

Longtime Western Carolina head basketball coach and former NC State assistant Larry Hunter died Friday, days after he was hospitalized following a massive stroke, WCU said in a press release. He was 68.

Hunter had stepped down as the Catamounts coach in March after 13 years leading the school. He guided teams to 702 wins in his career: he had a 305-76 record at Division III Wittenburg University in Springfield, Ohio, winning a national championship in his first year in 1977; 204 wins in 12 years at his alma mater, Ohio University; and 193 wins at WCU.

In between his two Division I two head coaching stops at Ohio and WCU, Hunter was on NC State coach Herb Sendek’s staff from 2001 to 2005. He was elevated to associate head coach in 2002, a position he held until he left to lead Western Carolina in 2005.

Hunter is one of 51 men’s collegiate basketball coaches to win 700 games, and one of five to have earned some of those wins at an N.C. school. The others are Lefty Driesell (Davidson, 1960-69), Clarence Gaines (Winston-Salem State, 1946-93), Roy Williams (UNC, 2003-present), Dean Smith (UNC, 1961-97) and Mike Krzyzewski (Duke, 1980-present).

In announcing he was stepping down in March, Hunter said in a statement “it’s just time for new leadership, a new voice.” Mark Prosser, an associate coach at Winthrop and son of former Wake Forest head coach Skip Prosser, was named his replacement on March 27.

Hunter is survived by his wife, Mary.