From one local team to another and back to his old stomping grounds — Corey Hunt grew up playing baseball for Monticello, continued to play at the University of Virginia, and now will take over his former Mustangs as the team’s new coach. On Monday Monticello athletic director Fitzgerald Barnes made the move official, introducing the 2006 Group AA player of the year as the new skipper.
“Corey Hunt is a Mustang through and through and his lifelong commitment to the sport of baseball made my decision easy,” Barnes said.
Just a little over a month ago, Hunt scored the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth as a pinch runner for Virginia as the Cavaliers baseball team advanced through its Super Regional matchup against UC Irvine for just its second College World Series appearance. Hunt played in 240 games for the Cavaliers during his five years at the school (he was red shirted as a freshman).
At Monticello Hunt was a 4-year starter at shortstop and earned All-Jefferson District first team honors three times. He owns the school’s stolen base record which he set in 2005. The next year he led the Mustangs to a Group AA semifinal showing and won the Group AA, Region II and JD player of the year awards. Only one other JD team, Orange County in 2009, has qualified for the Group AA tourney since then.
“I have always enjoyed helping other people learn the game of baseball and passing on the information that I have learned throughout my career,” Hunt said. “I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to play in college within my hometown community and I would love to help other kids live their dreams of playing in college as well. I want to be able to give kids the opportunity that I have received, and I really enjoy being able to teach and pass on my knowledge of the game to a younger generation so that they may further their playing careers into college.”
Hunt takes over for Peter O’Malley, the team’s interim coach this spring and long time assistant. Under O’Malley, the Mustangs earned their first Region II playoff appearance since Hunt last played. Hunt is eager to help this team take another step forward.
“My first steps are to go in there and let the kids learn from me and how I go about my business,” Hunt said. “Offseason workouts are going to be crucial during the first few months of the season, and I think that these workouts are going to help the players learn how I like things done and how much time I put in. I will work hard to understand what they need from me and begin to build a solid foundation for things to grow on. The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in one day” comes to mind, but I would love to try. I am going to bring enthusiasm, excitement and energy every day and help the players get better each and every day.”
While Monticello loses graduates Derek Knight and Tyler Moneymaker, they return the bulk of their roster with pitcher Josh Malm headlining the way. The Mustangs will also reap the benefits of transfer Sam Patterson who hit third and played centerfield for Covenant with a perfect fielding record as a junior as the Eagles captured a VISAA Division 2 title.