TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After 33 years, more than 900 basketball games and more sprains, bruises and aches than he can count, Sam Lunt is calling it a career.
Lunt, the associate director of sports medicine for men’s basketball, will take part in his final home game when the Seminoles host Miami on Saturday.
Florida State’s longest-tenured athletic trainer and the longest-tenured member of the men’s basketball staff, Lunt will be honored in front of the Tucker Center crowd during the first media timeout.
“You don’t do a good job as an athletic trainer unless you’ve got a lot of compassion,” Lunt said. “I’m sure I’ll be a little bit sentimental.”
After graduating, ironically, from Miami, Lunt arrived at Florida State in 1983. He’s served both the football and men’s basketball teams at FSU, and he has worked with some of the most noteworthy names in the history of Seminole athletics.
Charlie Ward, who starred on the basketball court while also piling up accolades as a football player, remains close with Lunt and is expected to be in attendance on Saturday.
Sam Lunt with former Florida State assistant current Miami head coach Mark Richt. Lunt and Richt worked together at FSU in the 1980s and 90s. Photo courtesy of Sam Lunt’s Facebook profile.
The current Seminoles are looking forward to showing their appreciation, too.
“Sam is like family to me,” FSU senior Michael Ojo said. “He has been a great friend throughout my career. Sam helped me get through my injury to my knee last year, and I am very thankful to him for helping me get healthy.”
A three-decade career brings about tons of memories, and Lunt has more than a few favorites.
– FSU’s victory over Louisville in the 1991 Metro Conference Championship Game. The Seminoles trailed by 11 at halftime and had never before won a basketball conference championship.
– Bryon Wells’ 3-pointer that beat the buzzer and gave the Seminoles their first-ever victory over the Duke Blue Devils in 1993. FSU went on to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.
– The 2012 Seminoles team that ran through Miami, Duke and North Carolina to claim the school’s first ACC tournament championship.
“To see where we came from to where we are now is unbelievable,” Lunt said.
Along the way, Lunt put down roots in Tallahassee.
He married his wife, Agnes, 24 years ago, and together they have three children.
Oldest son Ryan is a sophomore at Florida State, and twins Sean and Erin are juniors at Lincoln High in Tallahassee.
Lunt believes that becoming a father helped him become a better athletic trainer.
“It really changes your outlook,” Lunt said. “I tried to take that much better care of everyone. When you’re a parent and you’re sending your kid off to college, you want to know that they’re going to be taken care of. So I always tried to take care of them just like they were my own children.”
For Lunt, the thought of spending more time with his family eases the bittersweet feeling of leaving his post at FSU.
Basketball season runs from the late October until March or later, with long stretches away from home – often including holidays – a fact of life.
Lunt also is ready to pursue other hobbies and interests, though he suspects he’ll continue to have a hand in athletics training around town.
And while he won’t be on the FSU bench any more, Lunt said he’ll still be a regular on game days at the Tucker Center.
“I know that after the game, when the dust kind of settles, I’ll be like, ‘Wow, that’s going to be it, I’m never going to be back here as an athletic trainer again,’” Lunt said.
“But I plan on being in the stands quite a bit as a fan.”