After four years with the University of Alabama, former Greenbrier High School softball player Kaila Hunt will have a lot to look back on.
The Crimson Tide made it to the College World Series three out of her four years, advancing to the final round twice; winning it all in 2012 while losing to the University of Florida in 2014.
She’s been a standout both on and off the field and received multiple honors throughout her time at Tuscaloosa, but it’s the people she’s met that are most important to her.
“I think the thing that’s going to stand out the most to me is just the relationships I’ve built with my teammates,” Hunt said. “Even some of the past players, they come back and you don’t miss a beat with them and they’re going to be my best friends for 20 years. We’re going to be talking about the memories that we made because when it comes down to it, it’s not all about winning and losing, it’s about developing those relationships with (coaches) Murph (Patrick Murphy) and Aly (Alyson Habetz) and Steph (Stephanie VanBrakle) and Adam (Arbour) our volunteer coach. Those are going to be the things I remember in 20 years, not what the score was in the national championship game.”
A starter all four years, Hunt became just the sixth player in Alabama history to earn All-America and Academic All-American honors as a junior. In May, Hunt earned a second consecutive place on the academic list, receiving a 2014 Capital One Academic All-America nod.
Hunt is a secondary education math major sporting a 3.71 grade-point-average. Throw in playing at the highest level of competition with the travel requirements, especially on a team that lasts to the final days of the season, and that makes it that much harder.
She credits Murphy with putting emphasis on his players being student-athletes first and the school for having accessible academic resources for those who need it. For Hunt, who said being an Academic All-American was a source of pride, being a student first started at home.
“I think growing up my parents made sure that was something I emphasized.” Hunt said. “My dad was a high school teacher so my teachers could just walk down the hallway and tell my dad if I did my homework or not. So I grew up making sure I did what I had to do at school first.”
Hunt wants to become a coach when she finishes her degree in 2015.
“It’s almost impossible to play a sport and become a teacher because we have to do an internship,” she said. “I’ll be in Tuscaloosa for another year and I’ll be doing my internship and all that kind of stuff and I’ll graduate next May. The bulk of (my) degree is done.”