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`Hutch' led one heck of a life

POSTED October 25, 2012
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson


A Closer Look

                                          Hutch led one heck of a life

            He was many parts talent, passion and diversity with a huge dose of gumption to go with it all. John Hutchinson was very simply one of the most interesting people I have come across in this profession.

            `Hutch’ died recently and the ripe old age of 90 and left one admirable legacy along with a lot of memories that just conjure up a smile and a salute.

            I first met Hutch while working at the Register Citizen in the early 1990s. He wanted to write about UConn soccer, a lifelong passion fueled by some deep roots. Hutch had captained the Huskies when they were pups before WW II. The connection never weakened.

            Our outstanding sports editor at the time, Gerry DeSimas, told Hutch to go ahead and ahead he went. Head first. He followed the Huskies near and far and always sent us copy faithfully. He was tireless and bled blue and white.

            We used to run a soccer ball logo in Hutch’s story to add a little flash and bring attention to the write-up. Except on days when space was tough. Nothing frosted Hutch more than leaving that ball out.

            I was working the desk one night and did not run the soccer ball and the next day he called before my cheeks hit the chair. “Rick, Gerry says you have to run the ball.”

            “I know Hutch, but if there isn’t room, there isn’t room.”

            He called on more than one occasion. It didn’t matter to Hutch. He could get downright cantankerous about that soccer ball. Along the way, I found out a lot about Hutch in our conversations. He had been a history teacher at Torrington High and coached the cross country team, winning a mind-boggling 107 straight meets at one point.

            He was involved in the community serving on the Torrington City Council. Hutch was passionate about life, not just soccer as much as he loved his Huskies and coach Joe Morrone. And the ball. Don’t forget the ball.

            Somewhere along the line, we lost favor with Hutch. I don’t remember why. It was probably because UConn soccer was not a top priority with us, but who knows. Anyway, he took his passion down to the Waterbury Republican.

            Republican sports editor Lee Lewis wrote a wonderful reminiscence on Hutch in Sunday’s edition. He catches Hutch in his full passion and glory with some incredibly funny and character-revealing stories that will bring a smile to your face. If you didn’t read it, I hope you can access it. It is all Hutch.

            Lee worked more directly with Hutch than I did, but we both came to the same conclusion. Here was a man who lived. He never had to say, what if. We should all be like Hutch. He was one admirable piece of work.

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            Also noted this past week that former Ansonia football coach Jack Hunt is battling cancer. I’ve heard the prognosis isn’t great. Hunt’s record is nothing short of phenomenal – a 193-26 mark in 19 seasons from 1987-2005. A .881 winning percentage, the third highest in Connecticut history.

            I was fortunate enough to cover a number of Hunt’s game including a quartet of state championship contests. Always upfront, always honest, he always had time and never walked away. Hunt won most of his football games, here’s hoping he wins the biggest battle of his life to date. Get well Jack.

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            A lot of titles and crowns to be settled in the next week or so, weather permitting and the forecast is for a lot rain next week. But, let’s start with a congratulations to the Torrington boys soccer team and coach Mike Fritch Jr.

            One week after losing to Naugatuck, the Red Raiders reversed the decision and captured the Copper Division crown Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory in front of a rockin’ and rollin’ crowd of 800. Not a bad start to the second season.

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            In cross country circles, the state meets take place at Wickham Park Saturday. A race to keep your eye on is the Class S girls affair with Immaculate-Danbury chomping at the bit to end Thomaston’s two-year run as champions which has also propelled the Bears into the New England Regionals. Thomaston narrowly defeated the Mustangs last season for the title.

            The top six teams in the state open go to the Regionals and only three Class S teams have ever qualified. Two of them wear brown and gold and are coached Mark Olsen. This one should be a dandy.

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