Laney coach Hunter has stepped down as basketball coach

Laney coach Jerry Hunter (center) led the Wildcats to three consecutive trips to the Final Four. He's resigning to spend more time with his family.

Jerry Hunter has stepped down as Laney’s boys basketball coach.

Hunter, who led the Wildcats to a state championship in 2012, will still coach the baseball team. He said he wants to spend more time with and focus on his family.

Assistant coach Buck Harris is the new head basketball coach.

“I got to put more time into my sons,” said Hunter, who will have two sons playing baseball at Laney next year. “I don’t want to lose these next few years. It was tough, but it was about getting the program built. The wins would take care of themselves.”

Hunter and the Wildcats reached the Class AA state semifinals in all three of Hunter’s seasons as coach. This season, with a young team, Laney finished second in the region.

As the season neared its conclusion, Hunter said he was thinking about making this change. He then talked it over with his wife and sons – a third son will attend USC Aiken in the fall – to see what they thought. Hunter said he hopes to take these next few years to spend time with his children.

“They missed these last couple of years with me,” Hunter said. “I put it all into basketball.”

Hunter spoke with the basketball team Friday about his decision. Though he’s leaving, Hunter is confident the program is in a good place, with thanks to the coaching staff.

“It’s been good,” Hunter said. “I’ve had an opportunity to help develop some kids’ work ethics. I know with the community it’s all about winning, but with me, it’s about building. I’m a firm believer, no matter what experience you go through in life, it’s supposed to help change your life and make you a better human. When you focus on winning, it’s all you get.”

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