Chris Hunter, the architect of one of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s greatest dynasties, has taken his well-deserved place in the CCAA Hall of Fame.
The former John Abbott College women’s basketball bench boss entered the Hall of Fame in the Coach Category.
Hunter guided the Islanders to nine provincial titles and six National Championships in 10 seasons at John Abbott. The Islanders made seven consecutive appearances at Nationals from 1978 to 1984, winning five gold and two silver medals during an incredible stretch where they went 22-2.
Hunter led John Abbott to a 6th National Championship in 1987.
“Chris’ knowledge of the sport of basketball combined with his attributes as a highly skilled technical coach on the practice court and remarkable game tactician, as well as mentor for the student-athletes,” said Steve Shaw, Chairman of the Sports & Recreation Department.
“He laid the foundation for the long-term success of John Abbott women’s basketball.”
One of Hunter’s greatest memories of the CCAA is his first National Championship, which came only two years after Montréal hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics.
“It was an exciting time in Montréal and to compete in the first-class Olympic Velodrome facility for the first ever CCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship in 1978 was certainly a highlight,” said Hunter.
That spring, the Fédération des associations sportives collégiales du Québec (FASCQ) hosted all four National Championships simultaneously over the course of the week in and around Montréal, including men’s and women’s basketball.
“It was sweet watching our players raising that long Women’s Basketball trophy for the first time,” said Hunter.
Following his success at John Abbott, he was hired as the head coach of McGill University’s women’s basketball team in 1987. After Hunter’s departure, the Islanders went on to win national titles in 1988, 1993, 1996 and 1997.
“Through his career at John Abbott, Chris’ reputation as an outstanding coach brought players to the College from across the province,” said Shaw.
The CCAA recognized the institution’s remarkable achievement when John Abbott received the award for Women’s Basketball Supremacy through the first 25 years of the CCAA.
And Hunter was there when it all began. He recalls being in the gym at John Abbott College when Cariboo College (now Thompson Rivers University) played an unofficial championship game as a step toward establishing a women’s basketball championship tournament.
“I have a long history of involvement with the CCAA,” said Hunter. “I was fortunate to be involved in an athletic department that greatly valued being a part of the CCAA.”
Former John Abbott College athletic directors George Wall and Glenn Ruiter were heavily involved with the Association; Wall was an early secretary, while Ruiter served as the CCAA President. And recently, Shaw as well as Hunter’s wife Linda Macpherson were CCAA National Men’s and Women’s Basketball Convenors, respectively.
Hunter was the first recipient of the CCAA Coaching Excellence Award for Women’s Basketball in 1984. He also coached Québec’s senior women’s team on several occasions.