When a broken ankle ended his Yale career, All-American Brian Hunt ’02 thought his days of collegiate lacrosse were over.
More than a year removed from his final game in the Bulldogs’ blue and white, Hunt will don the Maryland Terrapins’ red, white and gold this fall.
Hunt, who led the Elis in scoring in both his sophomore and junior years, said a bad economy and the encouragement of Yale men’s lacrosse head coach Mike Waldvogel convinced him to complete his collegiate lacrosse career at Maryland, where he will receive a one-year master’s degree in finance.
“Everyone told me if I didn’t play it would be something I would regret,” Hunt said. “So I figured I would give it one more shot.”
After he learned that Ivy League rules prevented him from playing an additional year at Yale as a graduate student, Hunt spoke with the coaches of various top-10 Division I programs, including Duke head coach Mike Pressler. Waldvogel also helped Hunt in his search, calling various coaches to gauge their interest.
In the end, Hunt chose the school that he thought wanted him most.
“Pressler was interested in the beginning, but when it came down to it, his interest waned,” said Hunt, who was officially accepted into Maryland’s Masters program at the end of July. “Of all the coaches I talked to [Maryland head coach Dave Cottle] wanted me the most.”
For a Maryland squad that had the nation’s best goals-against average last year, Hunt represents a new offensive weapon that will complement the Terps’ stingy defense.
“To have a guy who is mature and who has been through a lot of lacrosse wars, it really helps us,” said Cottle, who first spoke to Hunt about playing at Maryland in April. “This way, we get what we need up front and it takes pressure off of our new guys.”
The pressure may be off the Maryland rookies this spring, but Hunt is nervous about his own ability to handle the rigors of competitive lacrosse after a season spent on the sidelines.
“It’s really scary,” Hunt said. “I’ve been given a good opportunity and I have to make the most of it. I know my skills will be ok. I just don’t know if my body will hold up on the field.”
This summer, Hunt attended physical therapy three times a week and rested his ankle. Hunt said he will be ready to play in approximately one week.
Cottle, however, is in no rush to put Hunt on the field for his squad’s first official competition Oct. 5 at the Leukemia lacrosse tournament.
“I don’t know if I’m going to hurry him,” Cottle said. “Once he goes forward, I don’t want him to take a step back.”
If Hunt does not see any official action until the spring, his first game may be a preseason scrimmage against his old squad. The Bulldogs will not play the Terrapins in the regular season, so Hunt will have one chance to face his former teammates from the other side of the field.
“We wished he could have finished his career with us, but obviously that would have been impossible,” captain Mike Scaglione ’03 said. “I’m just glad we don’t have to face him in the regular season. That would be too much to handle.”
If Hunt rediscovers his All-American form by the time the Terrapins finish their preseason against Yale, he might have an NCAA tournament berth as well as a Masters in Finance to show for his time at Maryland.