Sports

Sports Commentary 10/17/12

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Scott honors the passing of Soccer Writer John Hutchinson, a fixutre in Storrs for decades…

For decades he was a fixture at University of Connecticut soccer games, a chronicler of the teams through the 1950’s and 60’s, through the Joe Morrone glory years of the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, and into the current era of Ray Reid and continued national prominence. He was an impressive figure with a youthful look and conditioning that belied his years and a gentle smile that accompanied a twinkle in his eye whenever newer members of the beat called on him for historical background, which was frequently. At ages well into his seventies he gave the youngsters among us soccer lessons on the field in the annual media games that became Morrone traditions, standing tall at the finish while his younger peers fell to their knees and gasped for breath. Jon hutchinson, simply known affectionately as “Hutch” to generations of soccer writers state wide, passed away last week in Concord, New Hampshire. He was 90 years young. A presence on the UConn soccer beat as recently as ten years ago, his name still comes up frequently in the press box at Morrone Stadium. Among the sports media he was a renessaince man. He was a soccer player, a 1943 graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he captained the team. He was a war hero, a lieutenant with the 79th infantry in the European Theater during World War II, awarded the bronze star, the silver star and the distinquished service cross. Until the mid 1980’s he taught history at Torrington High School, where he coached the cross country team to 107 straight wins. He was a masters track and field competitor well into his seventies. For years Jon covered the UConn soccer team for the Hartford Courant and later for his home town newspaper, the Torrington Register. His involvement in his home town, at levels from political to educational to religious to humanitarian, made Jon one of the best known figures in Torrington for most of his later life. He was a deacon of his church and a Sunday school teacher, the founder of the Torrington Track Club. He also established the Friends of Soccer, to this day a driving force behind the fan base that has made the UConn soccer programs among the most envied in the nation. It would take a book of Biblical proportions to list all the things Jon Hutchinson was and all the things he accomplished in life, so let me put it simply on behalf of all of us who knew him, loved him and cherished the wisdom he imparted with us. Jon Hutchinson was a gentleman. He stood alone among his media peers, nuturing the youngest of us, guiding us on the path he had chosen, helpful, not competitive, instructive, not demeaning. It’s been nearly a decade since I have been graced by that gentle smile and that gentle demeanor, but the memories of both vividly washed over me on learning of his passing. The world was richer because Jon Hutchinson was part of it. All of us who knew him will always be richer because he was part of our lives. With fond memories of a truly great man in the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.

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