Posted: Wednesday, 03 April 2013 2:10PM

Ozark's Steve Hunter steps down as Tigers head coach



Ozark, Mo. -- Long time Ozark boys' basketball coach Steve Hunter has resigned his position as head coach, according to Ozark Public Information Officer Curt Chesick.  Hunter will remain as assistant principal at the high school.

The announcement was made Wednesday to Ozarks Sports Zone. While his days leading the basketball Tigers might be over, Hunter indicated he would like to coach again - somewhere.

"I would always consider it," Hunter said. "I'm not done coaching, I don't think. I would consider my options. I think there's a lot of things out there that I would consider. You try to look at the big picture and see what other things are out there.
 
"You never know. I'm just going to leave things wide open."

Hunter, who has also coached baseball, said he would even consider an assistant's spot in the college coaching ranks.

"You just never know what opportunities I might find in other areas or other arenas as well," Hunter said. "Baseball has been a love of mine my whole life."

Hunter said the decision to resign was his own and he hasn't second-guessed himself about the move.

"Any coach that has been at it as long as I have, you don't take (the decision) lightly," Hunter said. "You don't take it to be something that you haven't talked about or thought about for a long time."

Hunter will be eligible to retire from the school district next year. His daughter is a senior at OHS this year.

"This is not a force-out," Hunter said. "I've made my own choice as to how I wanted to do this. Sometimes, you might be at one place for a long time, but it's one of those things that you just feel is the right decision."

The basketball Tigers were 16-12 last season, falling to rival Nixa in the district semifinals.

Hunter, a member of the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association, was 536-254 in 28 years as a head coach, including stops at Strother (Ok.), West Plains, Hartville and Ozark. 

"High school sports has been a good thing for me," Hunter said. "It's been a good career for me. I wouldn't say I've conquered anything, but at the same time I've had an element of success here that I'm pleased with.
 
"I'd like to try some new challenges, and maybe that's at the next level. I don't have anything on paper or a grand plan or anything. I'm just going to see what's there."

Hunter led Ozark to the 2002-03 Class 4 state championship.  Hunter had only one losing season (2011-12) in his 14 years at Ozark.   He won 280 games for the Tigers, including seven 20 win seasons, five Blue and Gold championships and four Final Four appearances.

“Coach Steve Hunter has led the Ozark Tiger Basketball program to many championship moments over the past 14 years," said Ozark Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pace.   "More important than the impressive winning record that he has accumulated is the impact he has had in developing and assisting young men to be successful including college scholarships, a strong work ethic and the value of teamwork.   Coach Hunter will be missed on the court and his tennis shoes will be hard for Ozark to fill.”

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Topics : Men's BasketballOzark
People : Steve Hunter
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