Georgia St. hires Ron Hunter as coach

Ron Hunter has been hired as the head coaching job at Georgia State.

Hunter, 46, coached IUPUI for 17 years, with one NCAA tournament berth. He is also known for coaching barefoot to raise awareness for Samaritan's Feet, which aims to put shoes on children who otherwise would not have them.

The Panthers introduced Hunter at a campus news conference just hours after the Indianapolis school announced he was leaving. He replaces Rod Barnes, who was fired just before the Colonial Athletic Association tournament after going 44-79 in four seasons, including 24-48 in league games.

Hunter will receive a five-year deal with a two-year rollover.

"Ron Hunter is a proven coach and recruiter who knows what it takes to build a winning program," Georgia State athletic director Cheryl Levick said. "He brings a tremendous amount of energy and passion, and his teams play an aggressive, up-tempo style that is both entertaining and effective. And his efforts off the court and in the community are truly remarkable."

Hunter told ESPN.com's on Sunday that the Colonial Athletic Association's recent strong showing clinched his decision. VCU is in the Sweet 16 and the CAA received three bids to this year's NCAA tournament. George Mason beat Villanova in the second round before losing to Ohio State on Sunday, while Old Dominion lost at the buzzer to Butler in the second round.

"I think this can be a great situation for me and the league is really strong," Hunter said.

Hunter has coached barefoot for one game in each of the past three seasons to support Samaritan's Feet.

"Georgia State said they would support me and that made a big difference," Hunter said.

Hunter has previously been named an ABC News person of the week for his charitable work.

Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.