In only two seasons as head coach of the Western Illinois tennis program, Michael Hunt has been named Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year, led the men’s team to an NCAA tournament, and coached both a Mid-Con Newcomer of the Year and a Mid-Con Player of the Year.
In 2006-07, Hunt coached Martin Boström to an undefeated regular-season conference record that earned him the Leathernecks’ first Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Year award since 1997. Justin Junck joined Boström as a first-team all-conference selection, while Kim Lennartsson earned the Westerwinds’ first all-conference honor since 2003. Five student-athletes also received Mid-Con Player of the Week honors, with sophomore Neil Lesinski earning the award twice.
The 2006-07 Leatherneck squad reached its second consecutive Mid-Con Tournament title match, falling 4-1 to Oral Roberts. The 2006-07 Westerwinds posted its first winning season since 2000-01 and qualified for the Mid-Con Tournament the first time since 2002-03.
In his inaugural season, Hunt led the men’s team to a Mid-Con Tournament title and the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. He was named the 2006 Mid-Con Coach of the Year and coached Boström to first-team all-conference honors, as well as Western’s first-ever Mid-Con Newcomer of the Year award. Neil Lesinski was named to the all-conference second team. In addition, Hunt was named the Western Courier WIU Coach of the Year.
Before coming to Western Illinois, Hunt was the head women’s tennis coach at Sam Houston State University from 2001-03. In his first season with the Bearkats, he led the team to a then-record 11 victories, an improvement of seven from the previous season, and coached Sam Houston’s all-time wins leader, Ivette Andrade.
From 1999-2001, Hunt was the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Eastern Illinois. In 2001, he guided the men’s team to a 13-win season, a seven-win improvement from the previous year, and led the women’s team to a 14-win season, an eleven-win improvement. He coached two all-conference players and recruited five student-athletes with all-state honors, including eventual 2003-04 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, C.J. Weber.
From 1997-99, Hunt served as the assistant men’s tennis coach at Illinois State. The Redbirds finished with a 17-10 record both seasons Hunt was there, earning team regional rankings in both 1998 and 1999. Hunt coached two all-conference players during this period and was also instrumental in recruiting Jason Smit, the 1999-2000 Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year.
Prior to Illinois State, Hunt served as the head boys’ tennis coach at Champaign Central High School in 1996-97; the assistant girls’ tennis coach at Danville High School in 1995-96; and the assistant men’s tennis coach at Parkland College in 1994-96. While at Parkland, Hunt coached a regional championship team and qualified for the NJCAA National Championships both seasons.
Hunt has been a USPTR-certified tennis teaching professional since 1995 and has written numerous articles that have been published in various media publications. He is the Executive Vice-President of the Middle Illinois Tennis Association and sits on the Collegiate Committee of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Midwest Section. Hunt also previously served on the national Board of Trustees for the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).
Hunt has served as an assistant coach at the MIL/SIL Competition Training Center in Decatur, Ill., for two years and coached at the 2007 USTA 16 and under Zonal Championships in St. Louis, leading his Midwest section girls team to the Zonal’s Championship.
Hunt is a 1990 graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He earned his master’s degree in sport management from Illinois State in 1999 and is currently pursuing his doctorate in recreation, parks, and tourism sciences from Texas A&M.