Faces of Tamworth: basketball coach Patrick Hunt

Patrick Hunt’s career as a basketball coach took him many places. He spent almost 40 years working for the AIS, coached a plethora of NSW teams and was a part of the coaching staff at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Australian Basketball Hall of Fame member Patrick Hunt has called time – sort of – on his illustrious career.

The legendary basketball coach finished up at the Australian Institute of Sport a fortnight ago after spending the last 36 years with the institution but will continue in his role as president of the World Association of Basketball Coaches.

Before hanging up his AIS clipboard, Patrick was honoured by friends and family at a special presentation on July 20 where he was best summed up by Mike Krzyzewski – who coached the United States to three consecutive gold medals at the Olympics – in a video message.

“What an amazing career you've had,” Krzyzewski said of the Tamworth native.

“When I think of you, my friend, I think of fair dinkum because there is no one more genuine or honest than you.”

While Krzyzewski’s words represent the impact and reach Hunt had on the game of basketball, there were none prouder or more thankful of Patrick than his family.

Patrick’s brothers and sisters – Peter, Paul, Ann and Marie – were in attendance along with a plethora of nieces and nephews to pay tribute to their brother and uncle.

“We’re very proud of him,” Patrick’s brother Paul – who also spoke at the presentation – said.

“Our family – there’s five of us – were all there. Nieces, nephews and god children, too. He’s probably got more god children than anyone. He didn't marry and doesn't have kids of his own but he would have been a great father. My kids absolutely adore him.”

A twist of fate also saw Patrick do a Mark Taylor as he inadvertently retired after the exact same amount of years in the one job as his father.

Several decades before Patrick, the late Cyril Hunt – recognised primarily for his jazz drumming skills in Tamworth and country NSW – called time on his career as a technician at radio station 2TM.

Paul couldn’t help but think about how proud Cyril and wife Lorna would have been of Patrick – who is a life member of the Australian Basketball Coaches Association – as staff, colleagues and friends spoke glowingly of his ability to coach, mentor and inspire at the AIS tribute.

How you can nominate someone for The Northern Daily Leader's Faces of Tamworth campaign