And all that knew and loved “Coach Hutch”
You won’t see many by-lines like the one above but you also won’t see many tributes like the one to Chris Hutcheson “Coach Hutch”. He touched lives from state to state, county to county and team to team and rarely crossed paths with anyone – UNLESS they crossed his players, his boys, his reason for being on this earth.
The news of Hutch’s passing traveled faster than the speed of light and social media became flooded with memories, condolences and shock. Hutch had coached at every level – from the very young recreational/travel ball to high school, college and professional. He was successful at every level and drew his players to him immediately. He had the unique ability to achieve the most any player had to give.
Following his service, this post appeared and none could express the love and emotion felt for a coach, “Hutch would be proud of the service for him today. So many memories were shared as well as laughter as he definitely would want it that way. Loren Waldron and Kevin Cobb really did amazing job speaking. Hutch definitely was smiling down from heaven. He was tuff as nails but had a heart of gold. No worries Chris Hutcheson you will forever live on in the many lives you have touched while on this earth. Thank you will truly never be enough for the endless times you spent with our boys. We love you Hutch.” Those words don’t just roll off the tongues of teenagers and young men. They were from the heart.
Former Chipola Indian Palmer Betts said of his fondest memory of Hutch, “There are so many memories I have of Hutch. I’ve known him as a player of his and coached with him but the thing about Hutch that always comes to mind is how he always pushed me and everyone else around him to be better. Whether he was chewing me out as a player or teaching me something new about being a young coach, he could somehow always keep me laughing.” Betts said of the best advice Hutch ever gave him, “The best advice he gave me was never spoken. It was the way he lived. He was always cracking jokes and teaching the game he loved. He had a passion for baseball and life that was contagious.” Palmer said outside of baseball, “Hutch was a good friend to all. I always found myself looking forward to our next phone call or the next time we would be hanging out again. There was never a dull moment when we all got together. He always made sure to keep the room filled with laughter.”
Danny Mars was another player who had the opportunity to play under Hutch while at Chipola, “Hutch was an amazing coach and an even better person. Anyone who had the pleasure of being around this man would agree whole heartedly. He coached and molded me to be the man that I am today. When I came to Chipola, I had a lot of growing up to do and Hutch was a big part of that. He will be missed dearly by everyone.”
The sentiments continued with Clayte Rooks who played his freshmen year at Chipola, “Coach Hutch was one of the good ones. He was very tough on his players but always fair and tons of fun. I am very grateful to have been able to play for him and know him.”
It wasn’t just the seasoned players whose lives Hutch touched. Young Conner Barton said of his relationship with Hutch, “Hutch taught me a lot about baseball and a lot about life.” Conner’s dad, David Barton seconded those sentiments, “Hutch was so much more that just an old coach to my family and everyone who knew him. Enjoy your family and coaching God’s game of baseball in heaven Buddy. Until we meet again.”
Billy Swails knew Hutch adult to adult so to speak but had the opportunity to watch him with players for years, “He was a great caring individual and was just terrific with kids – they loved him.”
Daniel Stoutamire knew Hutch through baseball, school and life, “He was tough on his players but he loved us all. He made sure everyday when we got to his academy our homework was done first, we had respected our parents and teachers and then it was baseball time. He let his players know he believed in them and even when he would get on to us, you knew he cared. He is sure going to be missed but I feel like he will be watching over us every day, every game.”
The Jackson County community truly lost a great man September 26, 2019. He won’t be replaced for sure but as certain as that is, he won’t be forgotten.
And all that knew and loved “Coach Hutch”