Adam Hunter has held several different positions during his 13 years at Valley. On Wednesday, he added head football coach to his collection.
The Chambers County School Board officially named Hunter the Rams head coach, making him Valley’s sixth different head coach in the last 11 years. Hunter replaces Buster Daniel, who resigned in May to take the same position at Lee-Scott Academy.
“It’s unbelievable. I’m just excited. It’s an opportunity I’ve wanted for a long time. Anytime you go into coaching I think you always have aspirations of being a head coach. I finally get a shot at it,” Hunter said. “I’m excited and looking forward to working with the kids. We’ve got a great group of kids that really care about Valley. That’s important. These kids really love the community, the high school. They’re ready to get to work and get after this thing.”
Hunter, who has been the school’s athletic director for the last four years, has been a varsity football assistant coach for the team for the past 12 years following one season as the junior varsity defensive coordinator. Over that time, Hunter has coached a myriad of positions on the team, including inside linebackers coach and nearly every offensive position on the squad.
Hunter also served as the team’s offensive coordinator at one point during his tenure. Additionally, he was the school’s softball coach from 2008 to 2016 and was named the Opelika-Auburn News’ Softball Coach of the Year in 2014.
Hunter has been an offensive assistant during Valley’s impressive turnaround over the last few seasons. The 2018 team came in fresh off a two-win campaign and made major strides by putting up nearly 19 points per game and helping the team reach the playoffs for the first time in five years.
The 2019 squad built off those successes and took the next step forward, scoring nearly 23 points per game and doing their part to help the Rams capture their first area championship and postseason victory since 2011.
In Hunter’s opinion, the familiarity he has with the team will be a huge benefit going into the season. As athletic director, he had already gotten the players started back on workouts last week. The team followed the pandemic guidelines during two sessions that week followed by three this week.
“We’re already behind the eight ball right now a little bit, but now that I’ve got (the job) I kind of know all the kids. I know what they can do, what we can do, what our strengths are, what our weaknesses are and what we’ve got to work to get better at. I think that’s really important,” Hunter said. “Everybody is behind right now with everything that’s gone on with the pandemic. It’s kind of thrown everyone a curveball. With me being familiar with what we have now, with (the pandemic) it’s even more important.”
Hunter replaces Daniel, who left Valley with a record of 14-19 and two trips to the postseason in three seasons — which included a 7-5 campaign in 2019. In addition to graduating seven seniors and losing their head coach, the Rams are stepping up to Class 6A beginning this fall, which puts them in the same region as Carver-Montgomery, Eufaula, Sidney Lanier, Lee-Montgomery, Opelika, Park Crossing and Russell County.
Hunter said he has the utmost respect for Daniel, who he credited with laying the groundwork for the program during his tenure. In addition to building off those strides made during Daniel’s time at the helm, Hunter is eager to instill his own characteristics with the team, including the importance of pride, doing things the right way as well as consistently building toughness and physicality.
As far as Hunter is concerned, no one is going to outwork him.
“I’m going to put in the time and the hard work. I’m going to be fair, and we’re going to do things the right way. That’s the most important thing,” Hunter said. “I want to gauge our success off of five and 10 years down the road with what our kids are — what kind of men they are. If we can build those characteristics and teach them the right way to do things with hard work, perseverance and all those things, then we’re doing our jobs. As long as we work hard and do things the right way, the scoreboard will take care of itself. We want to win, but we want to do it the right way.
“We went to 6A, but we’re going to be fine. We’re looking forward to it, looking forward to the challenge. We talk about not plateauing and to just keep rising and getting better every week.”
With the uncertainty now over, Hunter can focus on leading his players through the rest of offseason workouts. While there’s plenty of work still to do, Hunter is eagerly awaiting his chance to lead the Rams onto the field for the first time.
“We’re ready to hit the ground running,” Hunter said. “We’ve already started, but we’ve got a lot to do and a short time to get there, so we’re really looking forward to getting going. There is some uncertainty, but we’re going to treat it as we’re going to start on time and we’re going to do a normal routine.”