Claude J. Hunt was born in Mattoon, Illinois, in 1866. He graduated from DePauw University, where he was an All-Indiana Conference guard in football. Prior to joining the Carleton staff in 1913, he coached at Hillsdale College in Michigan.
In Coach Hunt’s first four years at Carleton, his football teams were undefeated, and in 24 games, they surrendered only three touchdowns, outscoring the opposition by an incredible 1,196 to 20. He masterminded Carleton’s greatest football victory ever, a 7-0 win over Amos Alomzo Stagg’s Univeristy of Chicago Maroons in 1916. So good were Stagg’s charges in those days his squads had gained national fame as “point-a-minute” teams.
Hunt moved to Seattle in 1917 to coach at the Univeristy of Washington, but returned to Carleton in 1920 and remained until 1931. The first Carleton-St. Olaf football game was played in 1930, and his record in that classic series stands at eight wins and three losses. His 15-year record at Carleton was 76-22-4.
The C.J. Hunt Football Award was established in 1957 by Carleton alumni in the Twin Cities, and is given annually to the Carleton football player who has shown the most improvement during the season. Friends and former players under Hunt permanently endowed the Award in 1968.
More than a coach, he was a friend and advisor to all who knew him. Though a fierce competitor who became famous for the quote “I’d rather hang over hell on a rotten rope than lose,” Coach Hunt’s simple but earnest philosophy of “a sport for every man” is equally enduring.