After 11 seasons on the sidelines at Austin College, head women’s basketball coach Deb Hunter is stepping down from that position due to health reasons. Hunter’s team recently completed a season in which it went 18-8 and she was named both the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and Russell Athletic/WBCA Region 5 Coach of the Year.
“This is a tremendous loss for our entire athletics program,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics Tim Millerick. “However, we all realize that this action is necessary for Deb to improve her health. She has given the College and our women’s basketball program her very best effort and we are all fortunate to have had this special time with her. Though she is leaving her job, Deb will always be a key member of our athletics family, in particular for the history of our women’s programs. I know there will be many who join me in wishing her all the best in the weeks and months to come.”
Since coming to Austin College, Hunter led her team to a cumulative record of 138 wins and 134 losses and in a 20 year coaching career owns an overall record of 268-228. This season’s 18 wins are the most by the Austin College women’s basketball team since joining the SCAC in 2006. In addition to her coaching accolades this season, Hunter was also a two-time American Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2006.
Prior to coming to Austin College, Hunter coached for two seasons at Colorado College and before that spent 10 successful years at Bethel College. While at Bethel, Hunter led the team to three NCAA Division III National Tournament appearances, including trips to the Sweet Sixteen in 1994 and the Elite Eight in 1996. Hunter was named the Converse Coach of the Year for NCAA District 8 in both of those seasons.
In addition to her role as head coach at Austin College, Hunter has served as the Senior Women’s Administrator. The SWA is the highest ranking female in each NCAA athletics department, with the designation intended to encourage and promote the involvement of female administrators in the decision-making process in intercollegiate athletics. As the SWA at Austin College, Hunter was instrumental in assisting the College transition to both the NCAA Division III level as well as the SCAC.
Hunter also has served on various NCAA national committees during her coaching career and has been a keynote speaker at the Division III Final Four. A 1985 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Hunter was a standout player for the Gophers and earned her master’s degree from UM in 1996.
A two-time honorable mention All-America point guard at Minnesota, Hunter still holds 11 statistical records including career assists and steals. Hunter is a member of the Minnesota Athletics Hall of Fame, and last January the Gophers honored her by retiring her jersey. She was twice chosen as the team’s most valuable player and was an All-Big Ten performer.