- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
Hunt tells of building Bulldog baseball to top level
Oct 05, 2012 12:00 am
Co-written with CU songwriting teacher, book signings Saturday
By ANDY REED
He's a baseball coach with two national championships and countless other titles under his belt. He's a member of seven halls of fame.
Woody Hunt has added another title - author.
Cumberland's longtime coach, with help from fellow CU employee Michael Kosser, has written Chasing Rainbows: Building Baseball Champions, the story of Hunt's 31 seasons of building the Bulldogs into a perennial championship contender.
Despite his success, the coach with well over 1,000 victories wasn't looking to add The New York Times Bestseller List to the NAIA baseball poll as lists he's personally interested in.
Enter Kosser, who teaches songwriting at Cumberland and has written several books about the Nashville music scene.
"It was his idea," Hunt said of Kosser. "I didn't know if I should do it or not. I don't want it to be self-serving or self-promoting."
But after going up the school's chain of command - Athletic Director Ron Pavan and President Dr. Harvill Eaton - and getting the OK, Hunt and Kosser went through a series of interviews detailing Hunt's building the program from a junior-college power in the early 1980s to four-year status, a run of conference championships and some disappointing losses in the NAIA World Series, including a pair of extra-inning one-run losses considered the best games in Series history, culminating in national titles in 2004 and '10.
"He's a big baseball fan," Hunt said of Kosser. "It was Michael's idea. Michael's a great writer.
"We would talk and he would ask questions. We would talk about different things about the program and how it evolved. He interviewed a lot of former players who live nearby."
The book cover, a photo of a triumphant Hunt at the end of the '04 championship holding a picture of a rainbow over what is now the stadium which bears his name. He regularly brought that picture, taken during the 1960s, to the World Series and talked to his players about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow as a motivational ploy.
"A very appropriate title," Hunt said. "There are some pretty amazing stories about how that came about.
"One thing I did like about it, it helped me reflect on players and teams - like 1995 [Cumberland's first appearance in the national championship game which was a loss to Bellevue], that disappointment is strong today."
Also stinging is a 1-0 loss in 13 innings in the '93 series and the 2006 11-inning one-run setback to host Lewis-Clark State before a packed house in the title game.
"It's kind of bittersweet," Hunt said. "It's a recount of of some special moments that led to a championship."
And true to Hunt's humble character, he insisted on the book being about the team, not him.
"There's not much to write about me," he said. "If the story's written about me, there's not much of a story. I wanted it to be about the program. I'm part of the program being the head coach, I realize that.
"I really want the players to get most of the credit, because that's where it belongs."
Even in a book, Hunt said there was no way to include the names of everyone who placed a building block into the program.
"My biggest fear was leaving people out, and there were so many to keep from leaving people out," Hunt said. "I hope nobody gets offended about getting left out."
Former players and fans will have a chance to purchase a book, and have it autographed by the coach/author Saturday during the bi-annual alumni breakfast in the Benton Jennings Indoor Facility. The breakfast will start at 8 a.m., followed by the alumni game at 10. Hunt will also be at Nokes-Lasater Field from noon-1:15 p.m. before the homecoming football game. Books may be purchased on-site for $20 and are also available online and at other leading bookstores.
"I'm not sure if it's good reading or not," Hunt said. "But maybe if you're a Cumberland player or fan..."
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org