Al Hutchinson’s final years at Georgetown won’t include his regular spot coaching a sport.
Hutchinson, who recently finished his 30th year at the school as its culinary arts instructor, has resigned his position as the Bulldogs’ softball coach – a position he held for the last nine seasons. In that time, he led Georgetown to four Class AAA Lower State tournaments, including a Lower State runner-up finish in 2012.
“It was a difficult decision because I felt like I’d put in a good bit to get the team back to where we were years ago,” Hutchinson said. “I think that team is going to be strong for the next couple years. But sometimes, you just have to do what’s right for your family.”
Hutchinson said he has resigned in order to better care for his aging parents, who live in Conway. The bulk of time that softball requires, and not just in the spring, prohibited him from doing that the last several years.
However, the popular coach and teacher intends to fulfill his requirement for the state retirement package. That means he’ll be at Georgetown for at least another two years in an academic role. Throughout his time at Georgetown, he has run the culinary program that has prepared students for jobs in restaurants and hotels.
Hutchinson has also spent portions of his years at the school as an assistant varsity and head junior varsity football coach and as the Bulldogs’ boys soccer coach. In the latter role, he led Georgetown to three region titles and the Lower State semifinals in 2002.
Hutchinson’s softball teams played some of their best ball toward the end of his tenure. The Bulldogs won the 2011 region title. Even more impressive was the stretch from 2009-2012, when Georgetown was a combined 13-2 in district playoff games. The Bulldogs qualified for the Lower State tournament in all four of those seasons.
Georgetown Athletics Director Bradley Adams confirmed Monday that previous assistant Whitney Ramsey has been promoted to the head coaching position.
Adams also announced that Ben Waddle has been officially hired as the school’s next head baseball coach. Waddle, who has been a Bulldogs assistant, will replace Mike Johnson.
Johnson retired last month after 43 seasons at Georgetown, Howard and Winyah. At the three schools, he piled up 740 victories, which is second in South Carolina history.
Trainer shifted to Conway
Jim Berry, who spent the last 23 years as Myrtle Beach’s head athletic trainer, has been transferred to the same role at Conway.
The move was made official last Monday, and Berry started working in his new capacity this week. At Myrtle Beach, Berry earned the Founder’s Award by the South Carolina Athletic Trainers Association and the Seahawk Sports Medicine Program and won the National Award of Excellence from Athletic Management Magazine in 1994.
Berry will replace Stacey Baynham, the longtime Tigers trainer who recently accepted a position at the newly created River Bluff High School in Lexington. She’ll work under former Coastal Carolina football coach David Bennett, who was named the football coach and athletics director at River Bluff earlier this year.
“We’re going to build upon the foundation that Stacey built over the 16 years she was there,” Berry said of his plans for Conway. “I’m looking forward to working with Coach [Chuck] Jordan and all of the coaches over there. I’m hoping to continue what I did at Myrtle Beach the last 23 years.”
Berry’s transfer to another Horry County Schools staff is a move that is not unusual for teachers and administrators. He also taught psychology at Myrtle Beach, and he expected to continue to teach at Conway.
All-Star baseball games approaching
Five area players are beginning preparations for this weekend’s North-South All-Star Baseball series.
The games, which will be played at the Ripken Experience on Friday and Saturday, feature some of the top seniors from around the state. This year’s crop will include two players from Carolina Forest – Cullen Marcis and Hayden Roterberg – as well as Myrtle Beach’s Jesse Nelson, St. James’ Anders DeShields and Waccamaw’s J.D. Whitlock.
The Carolina Forest duo will play for the South 4A/1A team, while the other three will compete for the South 3A/2A team. The North will also field two squads for the event, with the winners of Friday’s games playing each other Saturday for a de facto All-Star championship.
The North-South games will precede next week’s North Carolina-South Carolina Select games – the baseball equivalent of the Shrine Bowl. Two area players, Conway’s Jordan Gore and G.K. Young, were named to the South Carolina roster.
The Tiger players signed with two of the state’s NCAA Division I baseball programs and earned Class AAAA All-State nods. Now, the two are preparing for their final high school event.
That all-star series will be played June 18-20 at UNC-Charlotte.
Contact IAN GUERIN at email@example.com.