Immanuel Baptist Church’s activities building was filled to capacity Tuesday evening with people all wanting to honor Cumberland University baseball coach Woody Hunt.
Dubbed “Woody Appreciation Day,” the event, organized by the Lebanon Kiwanis Club, featured an autograph session with Hunt and several Cumberland players, as well as various speakers. Cumberland public relations director and Kiwanis Club president Phil Carter called Hunt “a man who has made an impact on this community like no one else has.”
Cumberland University President Harvill Eaton spoke of role models.
“We all have role models, people we look up to,” he said. “In Lebanon, the voice, the heart and soul of sports and of Cumberland is Woody Hunt. Rarely does one person define what an institution is about. Woody does that for Cumberland University.”
Hunt took the podium and thanked everyone in attendance.
“I really feel honored and appreciated, but somewhat unworthy,” Hunt said. “I’m not a special coach. I’ve been able to coach some special players.”
Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead told the crowd, “When I think of Woody Hunt, I think about service, leadership and unwavering character. We thank you for what you’ve done for Cumberland and for Lebanon.”
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto added, “There’s three things this county is known for – the home of Cracker Barrel, the Wilson County Fair and the Cumberland Bulldogs and Coach Woody Hunt. Coach Hunt makes you want to be a better man.”
Immanuel Baptist Church Pastor John Hunn, who played for Hunt at Cumberland and now serves as Hunt’s pastor, said he was honored to be able to speak.
“Coach Hunt has shaped my life probably more than anyone,” Hunn said. “He cares about people. One of the secrets to his success is he always works harder than everybody else.
“This is an awkward night for him, because he never seeks the spotlight.”
Hunt ended the evening by saying he felt lucky to have been given the opportunity to coach at Cumberland.
“I feel very fortunate and very honored to have coached this long at Cumberland and in this community. The community of Lebanon and Wilson County…what a special place to live and be a part of.”
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Lebanon Kiwanis Foundation, which gives funds to the Lebanon Special School District’s Backpack Program, Christmas for Kids, Empower me Day Camp and several other community programs.