A fitting tribute for Hunter

The Gwinnett Board of Education will vote officially today on whether to name the athletic facilities at Brookwood High School in honor of Dave Hunter, a man who is as well known in high school athletics around here as anyone.

To me, the vote seems like an easy one.

He should receive that sort of tribute, a fitting way to praise the longtime Bronco athletic director (and formerly successful football coach) for what he has done for the school and for Gwinnett County.

When Hunter arrived at Brookwood, the campus wasn't loaded with amenities. But now everything there is first class, a direct reflection on his impact in the community. Forever etching his name at Brookwood would be the ideal gift for Hunter, who is retiring as the school's AD in December.

"We wanted something (at Brookwood) to honor all he's done for the school and for the kids over there," longtime Brookwood booster Marc Cain said. "There wasn't hardly anything at Brookwood before he got there."

Hunter's skill in fundraising is exceptional, part of the reason why Brookwood set a standard by building its own stadium and enhancing the athletic program in a number of other ways. He was the CEO of a successful enterprise, one that recognized the importance of getting money from corporate donations and the like for the purpose of improving the program - and in the long run making the environment better for kids.

Most everyone realizes Hunter's success as a football coach - he was 149-36 at Brookwood from 1987 to 2001 with a state title in 1996 - but this honor says more than just football. He stood up for his programs in all sports when it was necessary, even at the highest levels.

What the average fan maybe doesn't appreciate is how important Hunter has been as an Executive Committee member for the Georgia High School Association. He has stood up, at times under stiff opposition, to make sure the Gwinnett schools he represents got a fair shake.

Along the way, Hunter wasn't the best friend of everyone. Because he held a high-profile position at a well-known school, he was a lightning rod for criticism from rival schools. Even at Brookwood, I'm sure he wasn't the easiest person to work for because he's so demanding.

But he did it all because he wanted his school to have the best of everything.

"We couldn't just name the football field after him because he was involved with every sport (at Brookwood)," Cain said. "We wanted his name on all of the sports he's been involved with over there for so long."

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays.