By Josh Sellmeyer
Before Mike Hutchison began attending Webster University, the men’s soccer team had accumulated a 4-22-1 record over the program’s first two seasons (1984-1985).
But when Hutchison joined the Gorloks in 1986, along with a few other players and coach Jack Jamieson, the program started to turn its fortunes around.
Webster went 14-9-1 and qualified for the National Little College Athletic Association (NLCAA) tournament during Hutchison’s outstanding freshman season. Since that year, the program hasn’t looked back since. Neither has Hutchison, 42, who will be one of four student athletes inducted into the Webster University Athletic Hall of Fame on Feb. 5.
On the soccer pitch, Hutchison was an absolute beast, notching 37 goals and 20 assists for a career point total of 94.
In the classroom, Hutchison was equally impressive. He maintained a 3.5 GPA en route to earning a degree in accounting when he graduated from Webster in 1990, becoming the first four-year student athlete to graduate from Webster.
Hutchison will formally be enshrined into the HOF during halftime of the men’s basketball game, which starts at 3 p.m. in Grant Gymnasium. Halley (Spann) Barke, Eric Stack and Dan Thoman join Hutchison to make up Webster’s sophomore HOF class.
“It’s nice to be recognized for the effort and the passion that you put into the game you love,” Hutchison said. “I really tried to focus more on the team accomplishments, what could make our team better.”
From a team standpoint, all Hutchison did was lead the Gorloks to three straight appearances in the NLCAA post-season tournament. Hutchison scored 13 goals and added 10 assists during his freshman season, before Webster lost in the opening round of the NLCAA tourney.
Prior to the start of Hutchison’s sophomore season, the Gorloks lost nearly their entire midfield due to injuries and ineligibilities. Hutchison and Jamieson agreed that the right move for the team would be to take the prolific scorer from his forward post and move him to a central-midfield position.
The switch paid dividends over the long haul. Even though the Gorloks limped to a 7-10-1 record that season, the squad clicked when the NLCAA tournament began. Webster won its first two games in the tourney and qualified for the championship game. Although the Gorloks lost in the final, Hutchison considered the season a triumph.
Hutchison continued to play center midfield for the remainder of his career, which helps explain why his statistics dipped after his freshman campaign. The imprint he was able to make on games, however, was well worth the statistical drop-off.
“I never really had to play defense in my life, so finding that balance between the offensive and defensive sides took a while,” Hutchison said. “But one of the things that I really enjoyed about the switch to center-mid was that you were involved in the game more. You really had a chance to affect the flow of play and the pace at which the game was played. You were a more intrical part in the chess match that was a part of the game.”
When Marty Todt became the coach for the 1988 season, Hutchison said he felt like the team had the ability to break through and win the NLCAA championship. However, their loss in the national semifinal eliminated that possibility, and the Gorloks failed to qualify for post-season play in Hutchison’s senior season.
Bob Hutchison, Mike’s father, said the Hall of Fame induction is justified because Mike helped build the soccer program’s foundation, and the team used to play tougher competition in the late ’80s. In fact, he was a bit surprised Mike didn’t make it into the Hall last year.
“I thought he’d make it in the first run,” Bob Hutchison said. “When he was a kid, I built a kickboard behind the house. A guy who lived down two doors, he said it used to drive him nuts to hear Mike kicking the ball all the time. He honed his skills and he worked hard at it. When he was a kid playing, he had a couple of really good coaches, and he learned his trade from them.”
Hutchison received some prestigious awards for his accomplishments as a student athlete. He was honored as an academic All-American for the ’87-’88 school year. In 1988, he was named an NLCAA All-American and was selected to the All-Midwest team. And for his senior season, he was once again named to the All-Midwest team.
Hutchison said he decided to attend Webster not because of its soccer program, but because of its academic reputation. A strong and supportive faculty and small class sizes convinced Hutchison that Webster was the superior choice over schools like Maryville and Fontbonne.
In 1998, Luigi Scire, who played with Hutchison on the soccer team for one year, was selected as the coach of Webster’s women’s soccer team. Scire had one year to get the program ready to begin playing in ’99. There was never a doubt as to whom he wanted on his staff.
“The first phone call was to Mike to ask him to be my assistant to start up the program,” Scire said. “Being able to play with Mike, I knew he was an outstanding student of the game, tremendously dedicated, always very well prepared and loved playing for Webster University. Those were the criteria that I was looking for in a first assistant.”
Scire and Hutchison have teamed up to lead the women’s soccer team to a record of 185-52-10 over the past 12 seasons. Within the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC), the program has lost only 11 out of 121 games played.
“I really have enjoyed the personal relationships that you build with the kids over the four years that they’re there,” Hutchison said. “When they become alum, they come back and watch. You get to see them from when they just get out of high school, and now a lot of them are married and have kids. It’s just really neat to build those kind of lifelong friendships.”
Hutchison has also coached soccer at Fox High School, his alma mater. He coached Fox’s women’s team in two separate stints, from 1988-1992 and from 2000-2004. He also coached the men’s team from 1990-1998. In 2006, Hutchison was inducted into the Fox High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Currently, Hutchison is the head coach of the women’s soccer team at Windsor High School, a position he’s held for four years. Additionally, he is in the midst of his seventh year of teaching wood shop at Windsor.
Hutchison said the part he will enjoy the most regarding the Hall of Fame induction ceremony will simply be sharing the accomplishment with his friends and family — including his wife, Niedra, and his parents, Bob and Judy.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the second Hall of Fame class at the school, which really honors the pre-conference players who came in before Webster established itself as an athletic powerhouse in the SLIAC,” Hutchison said.
He added: “It’s neat to be on the ground floor and help build something. I just feel lucky and thankful that I was able to enjoy a student athlete career at a great university like Webster, and I was able to help start a positive tradition.”