You don’t have to look far to see the mark Dan Hutton has left on Indiana high school basketball.
Just check your local high school gym. Chances are, he’s done the artwork.
The longtime John Glenn girls basketball coach and painter has created murals and floor art for numerous gymnasiums around the state — including, among many others, Northern State Conference schools John Glenn, Triton, Culver, LaVille, Knox and New Prairie — and Tuesday, he was honored with the 2010 NSC Service Award for that artwork and his many other contributions to the conference during a ceremony at Glenn.
“When I retired from the insurance business, I had all that time to do just basketball and painting,” said Hutton. “I painted the Glenn gym, and from there on somebody was always asking me to do theirs.”
“There’ll be a memory of it for awhile, I guess, as long as those gyms are there,” he continued with a chuckle. “I just enjoy doing it. It gives a lot of school spirit to a lot of these schools, and art and basketball are my two favorite things.”
But Hutton has left an indelible imprint on the sport and its players that goes well beyond those paint strokes.
He resigned prior to the start of the 2010-11 season after 12 years as head coach of the Lady Falcons and a coaching career that spans a combined 22 years between Glenn High School and Urey Middle School for which he was recognized with the Falcon Award, also at Tuesday’s ceremony at Glenn.
His coaching resume boasts three Bi-County Championships, two sectional and two regional championships and a 158-111 overall high school coaching record. He jump-started the Glenn Girls Youth Basketball program 12 years ago and helped start the Falcon Holiday Classic girls basketball tournament nine years ago.
“Dan has done a lot for us and for me personally,” said Glenn Athletic Director Justin Bogunia, who took the helm as the Falcons head football coach at the same time Hutton took the reins of the girls basketball program in 1997. “He’s the kind of coach that understands what it takes to run an athletic department and what it means to be a part of a school and athletic department. Dan knows that he’s the girls basketball coach, but he also knows he’s a part of the athletic department and what it takes to do that. He works clocks at all the games, he’s volunteered to paint the football field, paint the gym, did conference track meets and track meets in the spring for me, and he’s the kind of guy where when he did volunteer, you could count on him being there.
“I thanked Dan for what he’s done for John Glenn, and I thanked him for what he’s done for me. I’ll really miss him as a member of the athletic department, but even more so as a friend.”
It’s the people more than the hardware that demonstrate Hutton’s impact, a fact that was evidenced by the many former players and colleagues who showed up for his reception at Glenn Tuesday.
“He’s definitely left his mark,” said Bogunia. “He had two semistate teams so he’s had success, but I would say when you look at the girls that come back who volunteer as coach, when you look at the ex-players who are very loyal to him, it kind of tells you what kind of coach he is. Especially on a Tuesday night when I saw those girls here and I thought some of them had to travel some ways to come see him. I thought that was nice, and it’s kind of his legacy. I always thought that as a coach, your legacy or your trophies are the kids that played for you, not the pieces of metal that sit on the shelf. When you look at the players, those are some nice memories, some nice trophies for him... and it showed a lot about what kind of a person he is even more so than a coach.”
That fact may come as a surprise to some given Hutton’s famously brusque demean-or, but friends say the coach’s sometimes abrupt manner masks a warm, generous heart.
“I’m going to say his players will probably remember him as one of the gruffest guys around, but he’s also pretty soft,” said longtime friend and current Glenn head girls basketball coach John Willoughby, who took over the team this season after six years as an assistant to Hutton. “I think if you asked his players, they’d tell you he’s also one of the nicest guys they know.”
Hutton echoed those sentiments as he recalled former players and coworkers. The humble former coach was even surprised by the outpouring of support he received from some of those players and coaches Tuesday.
“It’s very satisfying. You don’t think about it at the time that you’re doing it, but it was really nice. I didn’t expect all that,” he said.
“I guess that’s what I liked about Glenn. You were surrounded by a lot of nice people. Fans and parents and kids. Especially the kids. You look at them now and how they were back 10, 12 years ago, and they’ve grown up to be fine young people.”