SPA-tlight: Sunny Hunt

Sunny Hunt, Director of Sunny Squash Miami (FL), Coach of University of Miami Squash Team

Sunny HuntSunny Hunt is a former top PSA player and has won numerous titles including the Australian Championship. He runs a junior and adult program in Miami, FL, is a US Squash regional coach and regional referee.

Hunt coaches all levels of players including successful junior and adult champions. He has a true love for the game and for the advancement of all areas of squash in the U.S. Hunt’s latest mission is to start a squash team at the University of Miami which, after a lot of support and hard work, has come to fruition; they have a full calendar of events and competition.

Hunt has been living in the U.S. since 2000 and currently resides in North Miami Beach, FL, with his beautiful wife Victoria, and six-year-old son Layton. The Hunt family enjoys the sun, surf, sand, and all things squash.

When did you first get interested in refereeing?
As a junior in Australia there was a keen interest for players to understand the rules and be a good referee. I felt comfortable and enjoyed refereeing matches and became very interested in learning the rules in great detail.

What do you think of instant replay?
A great technological addition, making matches more just, and it adds a visual discussion point for the spectators, enhancing the overall experience.

Do you think it could be expanded to include out of bounds and tins?
Yes, with the correct camera angles and no additional options to appeal. The flow of play should not to be interrupted further.

Do you find being an official helps your coaching?
Yes, absolutely. It adds a different dimension that helps me teach players to make the correct tactical choice of when to call lets, how to prevent strokes, how referees will interpret a call and why. This enables them to be better all-round players and referees.

Is it more difficult to referee the pro matches, collegiate or top juniors?
For me it would be a pro match. They are competing for their livelihood as I did, and I believe the players’ expectations of me, being a former PSA player, is to make accurate calls with good reasoning.

What are the major differences?
Top pros know the rules very well and what calls to make and the correct questions to ask. At the collegiate level you are handling an overall high intensity with the team and crowd participation. Juniors see a more black and white version of the rules and they have different pressures on them to perform.

Have you ever made a wrong call?
Of course, being human is making mistakes and learning from them. Refereeing is largely based on experience and interpretation of the scenario in the game. The responsibility of the referee is for there to be a fair match outcome from your actions and decisions.