Virginia Military Institute Recruits Hilton Midfielder Hunter Duford
ROCHESTER, NY, February 6, 2015 — “No ordinary college, no ordinary life…” is The Virginia Military Institute’s (VMI) mantra, which also aptly describes the life of one of its newest recruits, Hilton junior Hunter Duford, whose life is anything but ordinary.
Duford’s coaches describe him as someone who serves as a role model for his teammates, the younger players, and the FCA program in general. FCA Coach Peter Cook said, “When I think of Hunter and how he impacts his teammates, I think of 2 Timothy 1:7, ‘Know God and have no fear, for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of sound mind.’ I see Hunter as a person that others look for to just be around. His spirit glows.”
Cook describes Duford as a student of the game, someone who is always improving. “He is one of the most coachable players I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He is a leader on and off the field and is one of the top players out there. VMI is about to receive a special gift with Hunter Duford. He is young man of the highest integrity, spiritual values, and loyalty to his brothers. He is one of the first to the field and to help others, and the last to leave,” Cook said.
Duford, a midfielder standout at Hilton, began playing for Northeast FCA in the fall of his freshman year and has been playing ever since. He also served as the assistant coach for the Northeast 2021 team. He credits his FCA experience with showing him what a personal relationship with Jesus looks like. “Before I played for FCA, I wasn’t close to God at all. At first I joined the team just to play lacrosse, but the influence of so many great coaches and players helped me to completely turn my life around and get closer to God,” Duford said.
How has FCA changed Duford’s thinking about his sport? “In the years before FCA it was all just about lacrosse for me, and I never really thought about who I was playing the game for – the purpose of it – but now I know that I really should have been playing it for God the whole time.” Duford claims that his favorite scripture, 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong,” reminds him that no matter what life throws at him, it’s happening for a reason so he has to stay strong and never waver in his belief in God.
Duford describes the recruiting process as, “Crazy! Everyone wants to get recruited early and take the first school that gives them a good offer.” In 2014 when Duford was selected as an Under Armour All-American, he began to get a lot of looks from other schools, including from VMI’s head coach Brian Anken, but said he wasn’t interested in VMI at the time, and instead visited five other schools. Duford decided not to take his first offer, but instead waited and prayed for direction. And he believes because he waited and trusted God’s timing for his future plans it helped him decide on VMI, who continued to express interest in him a year later, and was a place where he felt God leading him to.
The advice Duford would give to other lacrosse players during the recruitment process is based on his own experience: “They need to open up their hearts to God, do everything the best they can, work hard and don’t feel stressed. Wait, and let God lead.”
Duford, who plans to major in business and economics while at VMI, is excited about what his future holds there. “I have heard VMI is a real challenge, and believe that it is a place that will help prepare me for what life is going to be like after college. I am eager to become a cadet-athlete as well as a student there,” Duford said.
Duford is grateful to his family for the support they have provided him over the years. “I’d never be here without them, especially my mom, who drove me everywhere and always believed in me,” said Duford.
He credits his coaches Peter Cook, Greg Scott and Joey Wilmot, and Sean McNamara, his coach and FCA’s Vice President of Field Ministries for the Northeast Region, for opening up so many options for him on and off the field and helping him with the recruiting process: “My coaches were always encouraging me to just keep persevering and reaching out to the college coaches and not to give up on any school. And, they are honorable people and good role models — they showed me how to live my every day life and do it the best I can do it.”
Duford hopes that one day he can be the kind of coach who will create the kind of opportunities for his players that his coaches created for him: “FCA opened my eyes to God, and I let him into my heart. I want to one day help athletes on the field, but mainly I want to help open their eyes to who God is.”
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is touching millions of lives… one heart at a time. Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ.
Since 1954, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ – to see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.
More information can be found at FCA.org.