CJ Hunter receives AVCA Thirty Under 30 Award

Posthumous recognition for Triangle's devoted coach and administrator

The American Volleyball Coaches Assoication [AVCA] established the Thirty Under 30 awards to honor thirty of the up-and-coming volleyball coaches 30 years old or younger in the sport at all levels of the game.

CJ Hunter, a long-time coach, volleyball devotee, Director of Volleyball Operations [Duke University] and Triangle club administrator, was nominated for the award and is receiving postumous recognition following his unexpected death on February 8, 2021.

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CJ Hunter | Age: 29

Career Accomplishments: Hunter was the 2016 recipient of Triangle's Sam Casey Caram Excellence in Coaching Award, which is presented to the coach who best demonstrates exemplary dedication and commitment to the mission and goals of Triangle Volleyball Club.

SIGNIFICANT COACHING ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

  • Hunter led 2020 Triangle 15 Blue to two [2] regional event first place finishes and two [2] top 10 finishes at national events, including a T5 finish at the Capitol Hill Classic in 15 Open.
  • Guided 2019 17 White to a top 10 finish [T9 out of 87 teams] in the Gold Bracket at the Northeast Qualifier, and mentored six future NCAA athletes on the squad.
  • Coached 2018 14 Blue to the championship match at both MAPL Hampton and MAPL Raleigh, winning the Gold Medal at MAPL Raleigh in the Red Division [13s-14s].
  • Led 2016 Triangle 16 Silver to a T3 finish at the Capitol Hill Classic in 16 Club
  • Worked four seasons on staff as the DOVO with Duke Volleyball, which included one trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2018.

Coaching roles:

  • Triangle Volleyball Club, Coach beginning in 2013, became an administrator in 2018
  • Duke University Volleyball, Undergraduate Team Manager 2009 - 2013
  • UNC Director of Sports Information Women’s Volleyball. 2014 - 2015
  • Duke University, Director of Volleyball Operations. 2015 - 2018
  • Surry Storm Volleyball Club, 2009 - 2013

Education: BS Duke University MS UNC Sports Administration


CJ Hunter passed away February 8, 2021, and is being honored posthumously in recognition of his passion for coaching. Club Director Sherry Fadool shared the following reflection with AVCA staff when forwarding his nomination: “We have nearly 100 incredible coaches, but CJ stood out from all with his contagious optimism, positivity, caring nature, and kindness. He truly loved everyone and it was impossible not to love him back. He was a total volley nerd and student of the game. He knew it all so well yet was happy to coach a beginner as he was a collegiate athlete. He loved the game! It was his soulmate. He was a brilliant administrator and was admired as a compassionate and engaged leader in our club. He knew every athlete in our club (350) including which team they were on and every single staff member. He greeted everyone each day and he knew what was going on in their lives. To be honest I have never met a kinder, more humble human being in my life. CJ could not attend AAUs in 2019 as he was having serious and life-threatening cardiac issues caused by a congenital heart defect. He made it his personal goal to improve his health and lost 150 lbs and was in the best shape in his life. While working out prior to his team practice on February 8, 2021 he suffered a cardiac event and died at our gym. We have been doing memorial tributes all week. When I spoke to his mother, I told her that when someone passes people say a lot of really nice things about them. But for CJ, they said those things about him every day while he was living. He was an extraordinary coach and an incredible person.“ #livelikecj #ceejtheday

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