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After football, Brookwood's Hunter still stays busy

Dave Hunter

Dave Hunter

When Dave Hunter retired from being a high school football coach more than a decade ago, it was a chance for him to slow down.

For anyone who knows Hunter, that's not his personality.

"I'm not a rocking chair kind of guy," Hunter said.

Hunter has been just as busy in his post-coaching career as he was during his 15 years at Brookwood.

The 68-year-old Hunter will be inducted into the Gwinnett Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday at Coolray Field for his success at Brookwood. But he could have easily been honored for his contributions to Gwinnett County off the field.

Hunter was the executive director of the Gwinnett Touchdown Club, he co-founded the Corky Kell Classic and serves on the executive committee for the Georgia High School Association.

"I think the mark of a guy is if he left something better than he found it. I hope I did that with Brookwood and Gwinnett," Hunter said.

Hunter's impact on Gwinnett County football was very sudden. Brookwood was 1-9 the year prior to Hunter's arrival. In his first season in 1987, the team went 10-2. The following year the Broncos went 13-2 and lost in the state championship game.

He led the Broncos to the Class AAAA state championship in 1996, the first football state title for a Gwinnett County Public School.

Hunter compiled a 149-35 record in 15 years at Brookwood, which included five region titles. Nine of his teams won 10 or more games and 12 teams made the playoffs.

Hunter is the first football coach inducted into the four-year-old hall of fame. He joins his former player Jason Elam, who was inducted last year.

"I was very honored and humbled," Hunter said. "There are a lot of deserving coaches out there."

Hunter's impact wasn't just wins and losses on the football field at Brookwood. When he came to the Snellville school, the team played its home games at rival Parkview.

Hunter was instrumental in the building of the school's football fieldhouse and stadium, which was the catalyst for the outstanding athletic facilities schools have today.

Hunter, who was also Brookwood's athletic director, was responsible for getting the area built for the baseball and softball fields. He also helped the track team get the first rubber track in the county.

"We had to build out of necessity," Hunter said. "If you want something nice you have to work for it. I guess we set the model for other people."

Hunter retired from football after the 2001 season, but has still been heavily involved with Gwinnett County football the last decade.

He started the Gwinnett Touchdown Club and served as the executive director for 10 years until retiring last fall.

Prior to Hunter's full-time involvement with the Touchdown Club, schools had to host the all-county banquet and each school to pay for the players' T-shirts, awards and meals. Hunter got sponsors for the banquet, relieving schools of the cost. The event has grown to more than 600 participants at the Gwinnett Marriott.

"I think the best football in the United States is in Gwinnett County," Hunter said. "I used to say just east of the Mississippi. But I think it's the best quality of talent and coaches in the country. It's source of pride for the players, coaches and parents. The club has built some camaraderie."

The Touchdown Club also has expanded to adding an annual recruiting fair and the Rivalries of Gwinnett All-Star Game, all under the direction of Hunter.

Hunter has worked 20 years for the Georgia High School Association on the Executive Committee, giving Gwinnett strong representation on the GHSA's decision-making branch.

Of all the endeavors Hunter is involved with, the dearest to his heart is the Corky Kell Classic. Hunter co-founded the event with the late Corky Kell in 1992. Hunter still serves as the organizer of the event, which is the state's premier kickoff classic to the high school football season.

"(Corky) challenged me to keep the game alive. Then he pulled me close and made me promise," Hunter said. "It's grown and has become a tremendous event. It's a real honor to be in it. It's been a labor of love."