Ansonia bids goodbye to Jack Hunt

But long before he became a legendary coach at the school, Hunt, who stood 6 foot 7 inches and weighed 275 pounds, was a legendary player as a football lineman, a basketball center and a track shot putter who still holds the school record.

Standing on the church steps, , the school’s retired longtime basketball coach, watched the casket of his former center carried to the hearse.

That task fell to pallbearers and , Hunt’s predecessors as Ansonia’s head football coach; Mayor James Della Volpe, the quarterback and basketball guard who relished Hunt’s protection in 1965; , the retired Seymour head football coach and his cousin, , an Ansonia attorney and the school’s freshman football coach; Earl Stanley; ; ; and Brian Butler.

“Jack was my first captain,” said McQueeney, now 74. “Right away I could tell he was a terrific leader. cheap jerseys He and Della Volpe took us to the state tournament my first year.”

“I could tell that one day he could make a tremendous coach.” So eventually McQueeney handed him the reins to the freshman basketball program.

But first Hunt would go to to play football following his 1965 graduation. There, he honed his playing and probably his coaching skills under and , two young assistants who later became Super Bowl winning coaches. After college, Hunt returned to Ansonia, began working for the school system where his mother, Phyllis, was a cafeteria worker and eventually took up coaching. In addition to football and basketball, he added golf, track and softball to his resume.

On Sunday at least 800 family, friends, former players and city officials attended the wake, which , owner of the , arranged to have at the . Surrounding Hunt’s casket that night were his Wichita State football helmet, trophies, game balls and a glass encased Ansonia High jersey with 193 wins embroidered into it.

On Monday, 500 people crammed into Church of the Assumption, where white and blue carnations forming large A’s were displayed on the right while to the left sat members of the varsity football team in their numbered blue and white jerseys.

Attendees included Shelton Mayor who played basketball against Hunt at the Shelton Boys’ and Girls’ Club years ago, and , Ansonia’s athletic director.

“He was Mr. Ansonia,” Lauretti said. “He loved Ansonia and he loved Ansonia football.”

“His size measured nothing like his heart,” added Piccolo, who said Hunt did more for the school coaching various sports “than anyone could ask for.”

In the church, Lauretti, Piccolo and the others heard , Hunt’s sister and , his sister in law, offer readings. They listened as Rev. gave the homily.

“Whenever we are confronted with death, we are necessarily confronted with grief,” Condron said. “Grief is caused by love . Jack indeed was a loving person, who cared for his family, all of his friends . and all of the players he coached.”

The pastor said Hunt instilled “confidence” and “responsibility” in his teams but not just in the way they played football but how they lived their lives.

That’s something , who came to Ansonia a foster child and ended up a key player on the 1986 state championship team, attests.

“I became a better person because of him,” said Holeman, now 44, living in New Haven and working as a machine operator. “All the things he preached: “keep your head up,” “stay focused,” “stay out of trouble,” became important to me later. He, and took me in and showed me the way. And forever, I’ll be grateful.”

, III, the coach’s eldest son, whose size and facial expressions mirror his dad’s, gave the eulogy. He said his father “went peacefully” at 9:41 Thanksgiving morning, surrounded by family.

“It was a fitting tribute for the biggest guy Ansonia has ever seen,” said Della Volpe, the city’s mayor and Hunt’s former teammate.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply