BOZEMAN — In 1977, Montana State athletics were changed for the better when Dr. Hunt Virginia Hunt took the reins as a director of women athletics fighting for more opportunities in women’s sports. Last Friday, she passed away with her family surrounding her back in Iowa leaving behind an unforgettable legacy.
On Wednesday, Montana State women’s basketball hosted South Dakota State. Before the game, there was a moment of silence for the woman that was one of the main reason women’s sports are where they are today in the Treasure State.
“Like I said, she has impacted student-athletes across the board in all of our sports teams, not just women's basketball,” Head women’s basketball coach Tricia Binford said. “It’s her dedication. She loves athletics and she loves to provide opportunities.”
Vicki Heebner Carle is the first woman to be inducted into the Bobcat Hall of Fame. She played basketball at the university from 1980-1984. In that time, she saw firsthand the battles fought and won from Dr. Hunt to give women’s athletics at the university equal footing.
“She fought every fight that came in front of her because she knew that women's athletics were not being given equal billing to everything,” Carle said. “I just remember her energy, her intensity, her drive, her passion.”
“Ginny Hunt was just somebody that was a pioneer. She was a trailblazer. She was a fighter. She was driven. She was fearless, and she loved sports, and she wanted more opportunities than what she had,” Binford added. “Her lifetime and her legacy is going to continue on forever because of where this program is at.”
Tom Schulz joined the athletic communications staff in 1988. Little did he know what he was getting himself into having the brilliant Dr. Hunt as his boss but now 35 years later has been able to see how all the battles behind closed doors , pioneering for Title IX and women participation paid off.
“She was she was a tough boss and she was very demanding and you can see why it's flourished so much with her leadership,” Schulz recalled.
From the College of Wooster where she started her early athletic administration and coaching career all the way up until her passing, there wasn’t a fiber within Dr. Hunt that wasn’t passionate about seeing her community flourish and succeed especially within athletics. From the court to the field her presence and legacy live forever.
“My blood boils when I come in this gym still after all these years,” Carle stated. “I believe it was a lot because of the passion that Ginny instilled in all of us and just watching her just go to battle with anybody that stepped in front of women's sports, she was going to take them down.”