Clay Nunley will never forget the first basketball game Colton Hunt ’13 played for Randolph. With seconds left, Hunt intercepted a pass, drove to the other end of the court, and scored a layup that sealed the victory for Randolph.
“That play speaks to who Colton is,” said Nunley, Randolph’s head men’s basketball coach. “He is driven, competitive, focused, and able to come through when it matters most.”
That game was the beginning of what would become a successful athletic and academic college career for Hunt, who, like many of Randolph’s student-athletes, chose to play at the D-III level because it provided him the opportunity to play competitively while also focusing on a rigorous academic program.
Hunt, who is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, graduated with a nearly perfect academic record. During the 2013 Commencement, he received one of the College’s highest honors, the Maude Huff Fife Award, which is given to the senior with the highest Quality Point Ratio.
He was the first men’s basketball player in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference to score 1,800 points, grab 600 rebounds, give 200 assists, and make 200 steals—all while maintaining a spot on the Dean’s List every semester.
During his senior year, Hunt’s excellence in the classroom and talent on the court earned him the prestigious national Jostens Trophy award. He was also named the Capital One CoSIDA D-III Academic All-American of the Year. In May, Hunt earned the Doc Jopson Award, the ODAC’s award for the top male scholar-athlete of the year.
“Colton is a great example of what we work for day-in and day- out,” said Tina Hill, Randolph’s director of athletics. “We want to put our students in a position where they can excel and really develop their potential. Colton certainly has done that.”
During the first years of the coed transition, there were concerns that efforts to fill new sports teams would come at the expense of academics. The men and women who chose to play during those early years set the bar high for the athletes to come.
“Our student-athletes from our first recruiting classes really valued not just getting a good education, but taking pride in putting forth their best efforts to obtain that education,” Nunley said. “I appreciate that our players, both past and present, want to live up to the term ‘student-athlete’ in its fullest—having success on the court while also earning strong marks in the classroom.”
The focus on responsibility and hard work has paid off with an ODAC championship for men’s soccer and national-level play for men’s basketball and soccer, not to mention two ODAC Coach of the Year awards and championship- level play for softball.
Like many athletes, Hunt credits his coaches and professors for his success. “At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be where I am if it was just me,” he said.
“It’s required some hard work and some effort on my own, but I would say I’m the one who is fortunate to be here.”