By John R. Schirmer
Chad Hutson did his homework.
Before he was hired as head softball coach for the Nashville Scrapperettes, Hutson found out as much as he could about the program. When he came to Nashville for an interview two weeks ago, he was prepared to discuss Nashville softball, answer questions and ask questions.
One week after the interview, Superintendent Doug Graham recommended hiring Hutson during a special school board meeting, and board members unanimously approved the recommendation.
Although his first contract day is later this month, Hutson has already been in town to look for a house and take care of other matters before school starts in August.
“I’m excited to be here,” Hutson said. “This is good for my family and me. Hutson’s wife Jessica is a native of Winthrop. He and Jessica have two children – Asher, 6; and Piper, 3. Jessica will teach at Nashville Primary School.
Recently, the Hutsons were touring the school district and went to the Scrapper Dome. “When we got to the cheerleader room, Piper picked up some poms and said, ‘Look, Dad. I’m a cheerleader.’ Everything felt right,” he said.
A native of Smithville, Okla., Hutson graduated from Southeast Oklahoma State in Durant. He made a couple of early coaching stops before moving to Foreman. “I was blessed with some good talent at Foreman,” he said.
The Lady Gators advanced to the state finals in 2005, his last season at Foreman. After Foreman, Hutson moved on to Woodlawn, where he would coach for 10 years.
During his time at Woodlawn, the Lady Bears defeated Foreman in the semifinals to advance to the state championship game at Fayetteville.
Hutson was named Southeast Arkansas Coach of the Year by the Pine Bluff Commercial in 2014, when Woodlawn went 26-8.
After a combined 15 years at Foreman and Woodlawn, “I had the opportunity to come to Nashville. It seemed like a good time to go,” Hutson said.
“I’ll miss Woodlawn and that area. We’re taking a leap of faith. Woodlawn is a great school and a great community.” It was tough to leave, but I’m happy to be a Scrapper and be in Nashville.”
Because his wife is from Winthrop and he coached at Foreman, Hutson said he is “familiar with this area.”
Hutson will take over a team that advanced to the state Class 4A semifinals in May before losing to Bauxite on a controversial call in extra innings. Hutson said former Coach Paul Ernest “did a great job. Looking back at him and Coach [Katie] Corbell and Coach [Boomer] Brown, I want to continue doing what’s been done. These girls have been working hard. I want to get to know the kids.”
Hutson said he expects the Scrapperettes “to put their best foot forward – work hard and have good discipline. We’ll focus on character, attitude and hustle. We want to get all three of these. Plant the seed and a flower will come up.”
Hutson said being the new coach for Nashville provides him and the team the opportunity to make a good first impression on each other.
During his tenure at Woodlawn, Hutson took the Lady Bears to team camp at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He plans to do the same at Nashville.
“We’ll try to do a lot in summer. Either you win or lose the last game of your season. If you win, you start for the new year. If you lose, you adjust and get started for the next season.”
Hutson also took Woodlawn to team camp at the University of Central Arkansas. “We were the smallest school there but we did well. We played Bentonville to 3-0. Anything you do like that is good.”
Overall, “I’m excited. This is a good opportunity for me. I’m glad Mr. Graham and Coach [Bunch} Nichols had faith in me to be the next Scrapperette coach. I was at Woodlawn because I wanted to be there. It was a good fit for me. The opportunity to come here stuck out, and everything worked out for us,” Hutson said.
“I’m a softball coach. That’s what I do.”