|By Mike Pucci
New Haven Register
It was supposed to be only about a five-year gig for Jack Hunt as a football coach at Ansonia High.
After graduating from Ansonia in 1965, Hunt attended Wichita State. On his return home, Hunt was unsure about his future, but coaching was not in his immediate plans. ersuasion from his mother led Hunt down his ultimate career path.
"I guess when you think back, I thought maybe someday I would like to do that (coach)," Hunt said.
"My mom, who worked at Ansonia, talked me into helping out with the freshman (football) team. I said, "Yeah, let me give this a couple of years." I volunteered for a few years before an assistant position opened up."
As a player, volunteer and assistant coach, Hunt has been involved with Ansonia football for nearly 40 years, the last 17 as head coach. Not only has Hunt amassed the most wins in the storied history of Ansonia football, but he's one of the most respected coaches in the state.
The past two seasons, Hunt guided the Chargers to back-to-back 13-0 records and consecutive CIAC Class S state titles. In the process, Hunt surpassed Charles "Boots" Jarvis for most career wins in Ansonia history and tied current West Haven coach Ed McCarthy for the most state titles (seven). Hunt has a career record of 178-20 for a gaudy .899 winning percentage.
For his efforts this past season, Hunt will be given the Doc McInerney Male Coach of the Year Award from the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance. While the award is tied to his success this past season, it also honors a lifetime dedication to the sport he loves to coach.
"I'm actually really honored (by the award)," Hunt said. "If you look back at some of the past winners like (former Ansonia coaches) Bill McAllister and Boots Jarvis and (Derby's) Lou DeFilippo, I'm not sure if I'm anywhere close to those guys. I grew up idolizing them."
Even when Ansonia's head coaching position opened up in 1987, Hunt was hesitant about taking the job because of the year-round commitment it takes.
"When the head job opened up, it was kind of a shock to everyone," Hunt said. "I told my wife it would be a couple of years (as head coach)," Hunt said. "I told her I would give it two years and no more than five. It's not just a three-month or four- month job. It's 12 months out of the year if you want to be good. But I love what I do. . . . Most of us [his staff] have been together from the start."
Also the coach of freshman boys' basketball and varsity golf, Hunt has dedicated most of his adult life to the kids at Ansonia. Watching his athletes succeed not only on the high school level but also in college is especially rewarding.
"A lot of the time as coach, like 90 percent, you just hear about the bad things," Hunt said. "But it's great to hear about the success stories. When the kids go (to college) and come back and they tell you about how well they're doing, that's one of the pluses of coaching."
Through the years, Hunt's teams have produced countless outstanding athletes. That's resulted in some lopsided wins for the Chargers. Even when the game is no longer in doubt and the junior varsity squad is on the field, Hunt is still focused on doing the best job he can.
"No matter what the score is, I don't stop coaching," Hunt said. "When the junior varsity is in, these kids need to be coached too. You have to look at the future, and those kids are the future."
Hunt already has said that when his son, Jeff, who's a sophomore, graduates, it will be time for him to move on as well.
It won't be easy for Hunt to walk away. After all, what should have been just a few years strolling the sideline became the commitment of a lifetime.