Hunter, Gene (1997)
Gene Hunter’s introduction to baseball came in his native Aroostook County. The oldest of five children, Hunter played baseball and basketball at Presque Isle High School.
The 1938 baseball team played in the state championship at Lewiston.
During the summer, Hunter played on the local American Legion team. It won the County championship in 1938, 1939 and 1940 but lost to Calais in the playoffs.
Hunter spent a year at Aroostook State Teachers College, playing baseball and basketball. He transferred to Colby College, enrolling in the fall of 1941.
As a freshman, Hunter captained the White Mules in basketball. and baseball. During his sophomore season he was a member of coach Mike Loebs’ Maine State Basketball championship team, earning selection on the “All Maine Team.”
Hunter also played third base for Coach Bill Millet’s varsity baseball team, making the “All Maine Team.”
During the summers of 1941 and 1942, Hunter played for the Presque isle Indians, a semi-pro baseball team. But his college career was interrupted at the end of the college baseball season in 1943.A member of the Army Reserves, Hunter reported for active duty at Fort Devens, Mass. on June 2, 1943.
Hunter served in the 78th “Lightning” Division, participating in three major campaigns in Europe. After V-E Day, the 78th Division became part of the Army of Occupation.
Hunter took advantage of the opportunity to attend Leeds University in England, anticipating his return to college life at Colby.
He was discharged in April, 1946 and returned to Aroostook County where he organized and coached the local baseball team that summer.
in the fall of 1946, Hunter returned to Colby. In basketball he played for Lee Williams and was selected to the “All-State Team.” Due to a war related injury, Hunter did not play baseball during his junior year at Colby.
But in 1948, as a senior, Hunter played for the White Mules coached by Eddie Roundy. It was during this period that his ability caught the eye of Theodore N. “Ted” Shiro (HoF 94) who remembers Hunter.
“As a youngster growing up in Waterville, | recall watching Gene perform at both first and third base as a member of the Colby College baseball team.
“He had the “great hands,” an exceptional arm and ail the moves required of a great infielder. He was also a great “clutch” hitter. he was an exceptional role model for the youngsters who admired his abilities.
His success continued when he left the college ranks and engaged In semi-pro baseball as a member of the Presque Isle Indians. This was during the same period that | played with the Bangor Athletic Club. Gene managed to hold his own with much younger players, some of whom were teammates of mine at Colby.”
After graduating from Colby, Hunter was a coach and teacher at Wilton Academy, Morse High School, Portsmouth (N.H.) High School and played baseball for the Old Town IICF semi-pro baseball team in the Eastern Maine League. He was selected to the “All-Star team.’ From 1963 until his retirement in 1984, Hunter coached basketball, taught American history and served as athletic director at South Portland High School.
From Legacy Portland Press Herald
Eugene A. Hunter
PORTLAND -- Eugene A. Hunter passed away on Aug. 15, 2010, after a long illness.
Gene was born on Oct. 23, 1922, in Presque Isle, and was the eldest of five children born to Else (Moran) and Alfred E. Hunter. After graduating from Presque Hill School in 1940, Gene attended Colby College for two years before entering the United States Army in World War II. Gene was a combat veteran and was particularly proud to have participated in the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest and in the Battle for the Remagen Bridge. After more than four years of military service, Gene returned to Colby and graduated in 1948 with a degree in history. While at Colby, Gene excelled in both basketball and baseball.
Gene began his distinguished career in public education at Houlton High School where he taught history and coached basketball. Thereafter, he taught and coached at Wilton Academy, Morse High School in Bath, Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, N.H., and finally South Portland High School. Gene's athletic success included winning state championships in basketball while at Morse High School, Portsmouth High School and South Portland High School. He is the only Maine high school coach to have won state championships in two different states.
After retiring from high school coaching, Gene served 10 years as the athletic director at South Portland High School and retired from that position in 1984. Gene resumed his coaching career at the middle school level and coached both boys and girls teams at Portland area middle schools including Lincoln, Cheverus, and Scarborough.
Gene concluded a coaching career that spanned more than 60 years at age 85.