• 46°

where are they now: Michael Hutchens

By Joe Joe Wright

Joe joe.wright@cordeledispatch.com

They call him “Hutch”. Born Bennett Michael Hutchens and called “Hutch” by everyone he started  coaching Baseball in Cordele in 1972.

Actually Hutch was my first baseball coach in my first year of playing ball. He was 16 years old and I turned 9 that year. Cordele Little League let a Teenager have a single A team. I can remember vividly Hutch pulling up to the ball practice on his old Yamaha Motorcycle wearing a CPO jacket and sporting long hair. It is more than 40 years later and Hutch is still at it. In the old days of baseball you just didn’t have a lot of parents sitting around watching ball practice, after all people had to work. There were no cell phones, not very many fast food restaurant . Let’s see Krystal’s and Burger Chef. No Hardee’s McDonalds, Burger King , Taco Bell or Kentucky Fried Chicken. That means that mom most of the time had to get supper ready and had no time for watching ball practice. My point is that Hutch had the adults in the Leagues vote of confidence.

If I remember right I think we came in 2nd and  3 rd my two years on Hutch’s teams those years. In my second year we put together an all star team to play the undefeated Braves and Hutch coached us and I hit my first homerun in that game and Danny Adkins pitched the complete game and we won 7-4. In a 40 year career in coaching youth sports there will always be countless memories both good and bad and Hutch has many of them. “It took me a few years but one thing I learned was that these kids aren’t the Atlanta Braves and I ain’t Bobby Cox.”” If a kid   does his best he doesn’t have to apologize to me or nobody else,” said Hutch.” “Over time I have wised up some and I realize that teaching players from any and all social, racial and economic backgrounds to work together as a team to accomplish a common goal is very high and worth while calling I love it.”

Hutch who works for the U.S.Postal Service as a rural route deliveryman was married in 1978 to the former Angela Jones of Abbeville,Ga. and they have two sons Brad and Ben. They have two grandchildren Jonathan and Christopher. In all the years of coaching and  the many other offices Hutch has held in the Little League organization.Hutch  has had  many other coaches helping him to name them all would be a difficult task. Currently Chad Young and Ron Fowler help Hutch with his team, the beloved Cubs as we like to say around the park. From the perfect game pitched by Antonia Alexander on Opening day in 1997 to the many all star teams he has coached to the 0-9-1 single A  team he coached one year that lost a pile of games by a run and the kids played so hard that year. Hutch has always been there with a smile on his face and a laugh in his heart. Teaching Americas favorite past time to the kids in this area, has been a great   blessing to Hutch. Countless players sons have also played for Hutch as has my own. Nowadays Hutch spends his spare time with his church at Penia and out at the ball fields every chance he gets. Even after having suffered through heart by pass surgery and I know first hand what that is like Hutch still gets right back on the horse every year and trys to figure out a winning combination.

Hutch has learned many hard lessons through the years and dealt with many a parent that just doesn’t get whats going on but one thing is for sure Hutch always, always, always puts the kids and the team first in all that he does. Personal accolades really mean nothing to Hutch, oh he wants to win of course but it doesn’t distract him ever from the ultimate goal of teaching kids the right way to do things. In my many years of coaching I can say this, there are a lot of others out there that might want to  coach kids, if so grab a pen and paper and take some notes when Hutch is talking. Thanks for the Memories Hutch.wifehutch 2