Scott Hundley has basketball in his blood

EX-MR. BASKETBALL HUNDLEY NOW IN CHARGE AT WOODFORD

mfields@herald-leader.comFebruary 1, 2011 

  • From Mr. Basketball to head coach

    In addition to Scott Hundley, several other Mr. Basketball winners in Kentucky have gone on to become head coaches. Among them:

    Jeff Mullins (Lafayette, 1960): N.C.-Charlotte

    Randy Embry (Owensboro, 1961): Owensboro High. (Also coached Daviess County to state baseball title).

    Wes Unseld (Seneca, 1964): Washington Bullets

    Butch Beard (Breckinridge County, 1965): New Jersey Nets; Morgan State

    Dom Fucci (Tates Creek, 1975): Owen County. (Also coached Lexington Catholic baseball; currently Tates Creek baseball)

    Phil Cox (Cawood, 1981): Lincoln Memorial University

    Winston Bennett (Male, 1983): Kentucky State University; Mid-Continent

    John Pelphrey (Paintsville, 1987): South Alabama; Arkansas

    J.R. VanHoose (Paintsville, 1998): Phelps girls

Every new basketball coach has an "aha" moment when it first really hits him that he is no longer an assistant, but the boss on the bench.

It didn't take long for first-year Woodford County boys' head coach Scott Hundley to have his "aha" moment.

The first week of the season, Woodford County was playing district rival Frankfort when a referee's call went against the Yellowjackets. Hundley impulsively peeled off his sport coat and threw it behind the bench.

"It was funny. As soon as I did it I thought, 'What just happened?'" Hundley said. "It's like I didn't even realize what I had done.

"I still wear a coat, but I'm real conscious of making sure I don't rip it off and throw it again."

Hundley has since settled into his new role on the sideline — he's more quiet than contentious — and he has youthful Woodford County playing pretty well.

The Yellowjackets, with no seniors on their roster, are 13-6 and have a rising star in 6-foot-6 junior Jay Johnson, who's averaging 22 points and 13 rebounds.

Hundley may be new to head coaching, but he's been preparing for it his whole life.

His dad, Ted, was a star at Bryan Station and Morehead State. His mom, Denise (Danner), played on Butler's 1975 state title team.

"Basketball's in my blood," Scott said.

He played his first two years of high school at Paul Dunbar, and his last two at Scott County. As a senior, Hundley averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds and helped the Cardinals reach the Sweet Sixteen semifinals.

He was selected Mr. Basketball in April 2000.

Ten years later, in April 2010, he was named Woodford County's head coach.

Hundley's career path took only a brief detour.

After playing college ball at Vanderbilt and graduating with a degree in communications, he got a job selling billboards in Nashville.

After doing that only a few months, he realized how much he wanted back in basketball. "It wasn't that I wanted to play anymore," he said. "I just missed being around it."

Hundley could have gotten on the college coaching track as a graduate assistant, but he preferred, and felt better suited to, high school hoops.

"It appealed to me because I'm kind of a homebody," he said. "I wouldn't want to be on the road all the time, recruiting and scouting, like you have to do in college.

"It's just pure basketball on the high school level. I really enjoy helping kids develop and improve. That's pretty cool to see."

Hundley returned home and joined Billy Hicks' staff at Scott County. After a couple years there, fellow Cards assistant Keith Griesser became Montgomery County's head coach in 2007 and took Hundley as his top assistant.

Hundley felt prepared when he applied for the Woodford County position.

As a player he said he "could always think through plays" and was a high-energy guy who always played hard.

The main thing he learned from Hicks was the importance of individual player development; from Vandy Coach Kevin Stallings, it was X's and O's; from Griesser, it was how to motivate players and blend personalities.

Stallings, who made a phone call to Woodford County to endorse Hundley's hire, said he thought his former player would "make a great coach because he was a very bright guy on the floor, and had a great feel for what everybody was supposed to be doing.

"I think he's got that kind of mentality and orientation for the game."

Having been Mr. Basketball and an SEC player, Hundley had instant credibility among his players.

"We know he's been through it all, so we listen to him," said Jackets junior guard Aaron Stover.

What the players want most from Hundley, though, is stability.

"We've had five different coaches the last five years going back to seventh grade," Johnson said. "We need somebody to stay around."

The Jackets' high school team has had three coaches — Brad Mefford, Gene Kirk and Hundley — in three years.

"Scott didn't take the job to just come in, have one good year, then get out," said assistant D.T. Wells. "He's there to build a program."

Wells, who was in the same graduating class as Hundley at Scott County, said his friend's top priority is changing the mind-set at Woodford County, which has only one district title in the past w20 years.

"We've found out it's not about talent, it's about changing attitudes," Wells said. "So Scott's basically turned into a counselor. It's as much about building up confidence as it is building up fundamentals."

When Hundley needs a sounding board, he has his dad, who along with his mom are at all the games keeping statistics.

"My dad's got a lot of basketball experience and knowledge," Scott said. "It's almost like having another assistant coach in the stands to see things from a different perspective."

As much as he loves hoops, Scott Hundley is determined not to be consumed by coaching.

"It's very time-demanding, but I think you've got to have a good home life as well in order to be successful," he said.

Before Hundley wed his wife, Torie, in 2009, he was savvy enough to know how to balance hoops and home.

They were married Nov. 21, only a few days before the start of the high school basketball season.

"That way I knew I would never forget our anniversary," Hundley said with a smile.

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