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OREM — After 13 years at the helm of the Utah Valley University men’s basketball program, head coach Dick Hunsaker announced Saturday night he will step down following the 2014-15 season.
Hunsaker, a 1977 graduate of Weber State, announced the decision while surrounded by family members following the Wolverines’ 74-69 win over Cal State Bakersfield Saturday night.
“Over the past 13 years, UVU has been part of our family with our daughter Jodi and son Holton having earned their degrees,” said Hunsaker, who will officially step down June 30. “I want to thank presidents Matthew Holland, Bill Sederberg and Kerry Romesburg; athletic directors Mike Jacobsen and Vince Otoupal for the opportunity. I would like to thank our boosters, fans, faculty, staff and student body for their support of our program. In addition, I thank my assistant coaches and their families for their tireless sacrifice and support.”
Hunsaker spent more than 30 years coaching in college basketball, including four years with his son Holton that included last year’s Western Athletic Conference regular-season championship and NIT bid.
“It has been a privilege to coach so many outstanding young men and have them continue to include me in their lives has been extremely gratifying,” Hunsaker said. “I thank them for their positive influence on me and my family.”
Hunsaker's record with the Wolverines is 198-128, including a Division I Provision National Championship in his second year in charge.
His tenure as head coach of the Wolverines includes a Great West Coach of the Year nod in 2010-11 and back-to-back Great West championships from 2010-12. He took Ball State to the Sweet 16 in 1990 and led Utah’s 2001 team to an 18-12 record and a Mountain West championship following the sudden leave of absence of Ute coach Rick Majerus — an effort that earned him Mountain West coach of the year honors as an interim coach and national coach of the year by the Los Angeles Times.
Hunsaker’s retirement coincides with the ending of his son Zach’s LDS Church mission in Africa, and he and his wife will travel to the continent to pick up their son this summer.
Utah Valley will commence a search for a new coach — its first coaching change since making the transition to Division I in 2003 and became a full Division I member in 2009 following a five-year transition period. The Wolverines made the move to the WAC in 2013.
“I believe change will energize the program,” Hunsaker said. “A different style and philosophy will be healthy as Utah Valley University continues to move forward. It is time to see a 'new' green sports coat on the sideline.”
Hunsaker coached former Utah Jazz guard Ronnie Price, who is now with the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as current UVU assistant coach Ben Aird.
"Coach Hunsaker is the best coach that I have ever played for,” Price said in a statement. “He is a leader, role model, counselor, and since I've left UVU he has become and even closer friend to family and I.
“He prepared me for the NBA, as well as life after basketball. I'm honored to have had a chance to play for him, and grateful to be able to call him family."
UVU will open the WAC tournament Thursday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.