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The longtime George Fox University coach retires after 12 seasons in Newberg

GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - Marty Hunter was nearly 100 games over .500 in a dozen years as head coach of the GFU baseball program.

After more than a decade at the helm of the George Fox University baseball program, skipper Marty Hunter retired in June to spend more time with his family.

Hunter had nine winning seasons at GFU in 12 years and amassed a record of 291-199, carrying the Bruins to two appearances in the NCAA Division III postseason.

His coaching career ends after 35 years at the high school and collegiate level, much of it spent at Bend and Canby high schools, where his success was parlayed into an assistant coaching gig at GFU under legendary coach Pat Bailey. Hunter took up the mantle and maintained a certain standard for the program in the dozen years to come.

It felt like the right time, Hunter said, to finally retire from coaching.

"I don't think there's ever a perfect time for this stuff, whether you switch jobs or retire, but this was right for me," Hunter said. "When you do this type of job, it's about relationships with people – the people on staff at the school, the coaches and the players. You create these bonds that last for a long time."

Hunter said he's golfing a little more now that he has free time, and he's been helping out his parents around their house as well. He has plans to travel in the near future and hopes to visit places he's never been.

Fishing and spending time in the outdoors should also be a big focus, he said.

"I just want to do things I haven't had a chance to do while coaching," Hunter said. "For us at the collegiate level, recruiting is such a big piece of the job and that's 12 months a year. Summer is the busy time and you don't have many days for free time. I am going to take full advantage of having that time."

A brand new grandchild and a son living in Dallas will get to spend a lot more time with Hunter now that he's free from the shackles of college coaching.

He can't quite pull himself away from baseball completely, though, and said he plans to do some individual coaching work along with helping out friends with their high school programs where needed.

The coaching itch never goes away, but Hunter acknowledges he doesn't have any interest in being a head or assistant coach anymore. Leave that to the future generations, he said.

The Bruins recently hired Hunter's former assistant and recruiting coordinator Kevin Kopple – announced as the new head coach on July 24.

What truly stands out to Hunter about his coaching journey is the relationships he developed with players and their families, and the ability to watch those former players grow outside of baseball.

The life lessons that go beyond the diamond are what he tried to instill in his players and witnessing the fruits of that labor was among his most proud moments.

"We're in the people business," Hunter said. "We are using sports as a vehicle, but you're trying to develop people and prepare them for life. It's fun to keep up with them after their sports careers are over and see how they're doing in life."

As he departs for the golf course, the beach and to playing on the living room floor with his grandkids, Hunter expressed his gratitude toward GFU for the chance to "do something special" and lead a college baseball program. He hopes his legacy is one of positive, personal impact on the guys he spent so many years with in the dugout.

"I'm thankful for all the opportunities I received and for the players and coaches along the way," Hunter said. "It's a lot of time commitment on all of their parts and I'm thankful we had a relatively stable situation where guys stuck around. The support we had from the community was special, too."

For more information on GFU's new head baseball coach, visit the George Fox Athletics website and click on the baseball tab.

On that page, a full-length story on Kopple's hiring is posted with perspective from coaches in Major League Baseball, Division I college baseball and elsewhere in the sport.

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