Rodney C. “Hot Rod” Hundley (‘00 BRA)
Rod Hundley’s life has revolved around the game of basketball. His love and talent for the game led him to achieve honors in high school and most notably during his college years. A legacy of WVU, Hundley played to packed crowds at the Old Field House. His dribbling antics and daredevil maneuvers on the floor led to his popular nickname – Hot Rod Hundley. He has demonstrated excellence both on and off the court as a player for the Los Angeles Lakers and, most recently, as a sports announcer for the Utah Jazz.
A native of Charleston, W.Va., Hundley’s talent for the game was evident during his youth. At Thomas Jefferson Junior High School, he set the state scoring record with 441 points for a single season and 20 points per game. In high school, he averaged 30 points per game, breaking the state’s four-year scoring record in just three years. He was named a high school All-American and was offered scholarships to many of the nation’s major universities.
Hundley played for WVU from 1954 to 1957. The Mountaineers made their first NCAA appearance and three total appearances between 1955 and 1957. During his junior year, Hundley averaged 26.6 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. He scored more than 40 points per game six times, which led to the Mountaineers scoring over 100 points in nine games. The Mountaineers were ranked No. 20 in the nation in 1955 and No. 4 in 1956. Hundley holds a varsity school record with 54 points in a single game against Furman and holds a freshmen team record of 62 points against Ohio University.
Hundley was the fourth player in NCAA history to score more than 2,000 points during his career. He averaged 24.5 points per game for three seasons and finished his collegiate career with 2,180 points. He was a two-time, first team All-American and currently holds eight school records. In 1957, he was the first pick of the NBA draft and played for the Lakers from 1958 to 1963 where he averaged 8.4 points per game and had 1,400 assists.
In 2000, Hundley graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences, 43 years after leaving his alma mater to play in the NBA. For 26 years, Hundley has been the voice of the Utah Jazz – the only announcer the team has ever known. In 1982, he received the NCAA Silver Anniversary All-America Team for distinguished service for his life’s accomplishments, and in 1992, he was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame. He received the NBA’s Distinguished Broadcaster award in 1994. In 2003, Hundley received the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame – the only former professional player to achieve such an honor. In June 2004, he was voted into the Utah Broadcast Hall of Fame. He is the author of Hot Rod Hundley: The Man With A Lot to Smile About and You Gotta Love It Baby.
During the off-season, Hundley conducts basketball clinics around the country and works with charities in the Salt Lake City area. Each year, he hosts the Hot Rod Hundley Celebrity Golf Tournament to benefit the Salt Lake Shriner’s Hospital.
Mr. Hundley, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, has three daughters: Kimberly, Jacquie and Jennifer.