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Edward "Coach" Hunt Sr

September 12, 1934 March 18, 2019
Edward  "Coach" Hunt Sr
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Obituary for Edward "Coach" Hunt Sr

Edward Hunt Sr., 84 years old passed away peacefully at home in Sherman, Texas on March 18, 2019. Born on September 12, 1934, “Ed” as he was fondly known, was a native of Longview, Texas, and the youngest of 6 children. His favorite activity as a youth was watching Westerns at the downtown movie theatre while his mother, Sally, ran errands in town. As a young man in 1959, he first taught school in Kilgore, Texas, which began his 47+ year-long, pedagogical and coaching career. Ed worked at C.B. Dansby High School for 3 years under segregation and was the only person in his family to attend college at the urging of his mother while his dad worked long, hard days in a factory to support the family.
Ed initially attended the popular HBCU, Wiley College, in Marshall, Texas on a track scholarship after graduating from Weldon High School in Gladewater, Texas where he played on the basketball team, ran track, served as captain of the football team and dominated as defensive right tackle. However, because of his love of food while working in the school cafeteria, he packed on 30 pounds. The next year he switched to football to continue his education on a full athletic scholarship. Spirited Ed is remembered as being a very gifted and popular football player who possessed a rambunctious, energetic, “can-do” attitude. He was well-liked on campus by both fellow students and educators, and emerged as a young, confident coach as he began his football legacy. After finishing his collegiate football playing days at Wiley College and prior to his trek to Kilgore, Ed completed his student teaching in Dallas at the illustrious Lincoln High School.
At the age of 28, Coach Ed Hunt joined the then segregated Sherman Independent School District in 1962 as the head coach of the Fred Douglass Panthers and went on to win the class 2A Negro state championship in 1964 with a perfect 12-0 football record – notably Sherman’s first and only state football title to date. He shared that honor with his long-time friend, Q.D. Williams, who was also a coach on the Panthers football staff and an astute mathematics educator. There were many star athletes who comprised that winning team. That football season brought a sense of unity to the city as people of all ethnicities filled the stands to cheer the Panthers on to victory. After 6 years at Fred Douglass, in 1968 Ed began teaching health and driver’s education and excelled as the head defensive football and head track coach for several decades at the newly integrated Sherman High School.
Reflecting on an early pivotal event in his life, he was drawn to major in Health Education at Wiley because of a fatal car accident his mother sustained while returning with family members from a trip to California to visit one of his sisters. Although Ed (then 20 years old) survived the car accident with little injury, he always felt that if he had known CPR and first aid, he could have saved his mother’s life --- his biggest supporter who attended as many of his extra-curricular events as possible. Ed always regretted not preventing her fatality which spurred him to teach defensive driving techniques in driver’s education. Moreover, he made it his life-long mission to educate and demonstrate to others the importance of maintaining good health and knowing life-saving measures. Ed often could be seen in his neighborhood and at the high school jogging 3 to 5 miles daily serving as an inspiration to all to maintain good health.
An exuberant mentor to all students, Ed later obtained a master’s degree from East Texas State University at Commerce. He is often remembered as a jubilant and motivating teacher who referred to all students as “superstars” because he always saw them as what they could become. He encouraged character traits such as integrity, politeness and duty in everyone no matter their socio-economic background, gender, educational level or sexual orientation. Ed helped to develop many young people who went on to become pro athletes, professionals and good citizens, and inspired thousands of young people and their families personally and professionally. He enjoyed battling for the axe, district and quarter finals, and state competitions each year.
Always helpful, Ed even coached girls’ basketball (the “B” teamers or junior varsity) for two seasons at Sherman High for a fellow coach who fell seriously ill. He wouldn’t hesitate to donate his time and money to those in need. What he loved most was helping the youth and their families succeed in school, on the playing field and in life. Ed offered encouragement to those who even took a wrong turn and became incarcerated. He occasionally corresponded with them while they were in prison and received visits from them when they returned to the community. Ed always believed they could turn their lives around and most did.
Ed and his wife, Raythalia, enjoyed the many visits, invitations, cards, food/hunting game and updates they received over the years from former students. They hosted numerous breakfasts and dinners, and football film review sessions at their house to help edify young football players and foster a sense of belonging. Ed especially enjoyed watching his oldest son and nephews’ football games at SMU as well as all the athletes that went on to play professional sports and serve as educators and coaches in their own communities. Ed even declined the opportunity to become a member of the University of Texas at Austin football coaching staff to remain in his beloved community of Sherman.
He was the last living member of his immediate family and was proceeded in death by his wife of 53 years, Raythalia, whom he met at Wiley and assisted with writing many of his speeches; his parents, James and Sally; his sisters Willie Mae, Georgia; and brothers James, Jack and Samuel (Sammy). Ed leaves behind many who thought of him fondly: his children, grand-children, daughters-in-law, cousins, nephews, nieces, sisters-in-laws; and a host of fellow educators, coaches, friends, neighbors, community members, former students and their families.
Per Ed’s wishes, he will be laid to rest in a private ceremony. The Hunt family extends a heartfelt thanks to those who have already extended their condolences, food, comforting prayers, fond memories and outpouring messages of love. In Ed’s honor and in lieu of flowers, please make donations to one or more of the following organizations: Sherman ISD Athletics Booster Club, Q.D. & Ruby Jo Williams Scholarship fund at Grayson County College, and the Boys and Girls Club of Sherman.

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