Hunt named new Dowagiac boys’ basketball coach

Published 8:11 am Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Niles Daily Star

Dowagiac Athletic Director Greg Younger didn’t have to look very far to find the Chieftains’ next boys’ varsity basketball coach.

Veteran Dowagiac assistant Danum Hunt was named to replace Greg Blomgren Monday night by the Dowagiac Board of Education at its regular monthly meeting at the Dowagiac Middle School.

Hunt is no stranger to the Dowagiac basketball program. The 1989 Benton Harbor graduate has spent seven years coaching both boys and girls teams at the freshmen and junior varsity levels.

Hunt, 38, spent two years coaching freshmen and junior varsity girls basketball and seven years coaching freshmen and junior varsity boys basketball at Dowagiac.

“We are excited to have Danum move up into the varsity head coaching role,” Younger said. “He has been committed to our program, serving the last four years as our JV coach and he already has positive relationships with our kids in the program. This will allow him to hit the ground running so that he won’t have to gain the trust of the players because they are already familiar with him. He will be able to focus on implementing his vision for the program right away.”

Before Blomgren announced he was taking the job at St. Joseph, Hunt was considering a couple of options.

Since his son D.J. is now a freshman at DUHS and his other son Jamin was entering fourth grade, he was considering stepping away from the program for a while so he would watch D.J. play and help with the development of Jamin as an athlete.

But when the varsity job came open, he decided he would talk to some of the current and up and coming players to get their take on the position.

“They were asking me if I would apply for the job,” Hunt said Monday evening. “I also think there is a lot of potential and talent there and I want to help them reach that potential.”
Hunt added that he believes the talent exists in the program right now to play better than .500 basketball this coming season and contend for the Wolverine Conference championship.

“There is going to have to be a lot of hard work, dedication and effort to make this happen,” he said. “They already are buying into what it takes to be successful. These guys aren’t new to me because I have coached some of them since they were in the third and fourth grade. They already know the level of expectation I have for this program.”
Hunt, who is married to Dowagiac City Council woman Lori Hunt, said that he plans to build a program from the third grade on up.

“We need to have more than just three teams at the high school level,” Hunt pointed out. “We need to establish a program that begins in the third grade and gives us a feeder system. I need to get down there and make sure we are doing the things we need to be doing in order to be successful at the high school level. Things like fundamentals.

“We have quite often found as coaches at the high school that we are having to teach these kids the same fundamentals that they should have already learned. It’s going to take a lot of help from parents and volunteers in the community.

“We want to make it a program with tradition and pride. We want to establish a basketball program that when you talk about the area teams, Dowagiac is mentioned. We want to not only compete, but we want to win,” he added.

Hunt also said that he wants to develop summer leagues for all ages, hold camps and clinics.
With the loss of only a handful of players and some young and talented players coming up through the ranks, Hunt is excited about the chances of making Dowagiac a basketball team that will have to be dealt with not only in the Wolverine Conference, but in the post season.
“I believe that we can get it done,” he said. “I believe in these kids. I think they need somebody to show them that they believe in them and that’s my job. It will be important to get the support of the community, the support of the student body and the support of the administration and staff.”

Having played with the Tigers, Hunt knows exactly what that is like and he would like to show his team just how that feels.

In other action, the board hired Denise Hutson as the junior varsity volleyball coach and Kyle Johnson as a junior varsity football coach.