NEW ORLEANS, L.A. — On March 26, Tulane Athletic Director Troy Dannen took the mic in Devlin Fieldhouse to announce the hiring of new Tulane Men’s Basketball Coach Ron Hunter.
The move came just eight days after Tulane and former Head Coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. parted ways. Dunleavy’s tenure was mainly marked with individual achievement’s like Cam Reynolds and Melvin Frazier Jr. winning back-to-back AAC Most Improved Player Awards and then making it to the NBA. While Dunleavy had experienced recent success on the recruiting trail with the commitments of 3-star 2019 PF Nobal Days and 4-star 2020 G Elijah Wood, it was not enough to save him from the 24-69 record that he had accumulated over three years at the helm of the Green Wave program. Dunleavy’s struggles did not come as a shock to many who questioned if the former NBA legend was the right fit at Tulane.
As many athletic programs tend to do when hiring a new coach to replace a previously fired one, the Green Wave hired a man who is the exact opposite of Dunleavy. The Tulane job was Dunleavy’s first as a college coach. For Hunter it is his fifth different school as a college coach and the 2019-20 Tulane basketball season will be Hunter’s 26th season as a Division I Head Coach.
Hunter’s most recent coaching stop, Georgia St., is also where he has found the most success in his coaching career. In eight years at Georgia St., Hunter compiled a 171-95 record that featured three NCAA Tournament berths, four Sun Belt Conference Championships and a Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year Award.
Hunter’s most notable moment came in the final seconds of the 2015 NCAA Tournament when his 14th-seeded Panthers knocked off the 3rd-seeded Baylor Bears in the opening round of the tournament. Hunter, who had been sentenced to coaching the entire game on a stool due to a torn ACL, fell from his seat as he celebrated his son R.J. hitting the game-winning three-pointer.
In his opening press conference in Uptown, Hunter wasted no time setting high expectations for next year’s team. Hunter proclaimed that he plans on going to the NCAA Tournament with next year’s Tulane team despite the abysmal 4-26 record that the team finished with this past season. Hunter also declared that he aims to “prove everybody wrong next year” and beat a Houston team that finished last season 33-4 and in 1st place of the AAC.
Hunter has a long way to go if he wants to accomplish those goals this quickly, but he has proven that he is a man who could do it. In his first season as Head Coach at Georgia St., Hunter oversaw a ten win improvement and a 20+ win season for a school that hadn’t seen more than 14 wins since eight years earlier.
With the recent announcements of Samir Sehic, Caleb Daniels, and Connor Crabtree to all looking to explore continuing their basketball career’s away from Tulane, Hunter currently has six scholarship openings to work with for next season. If he wishes to go to the NCAA Tournament next season, Hunter is going to have to find some immediate help with those scholarships.