Ten years ago, coach Jim Hutnik ‘78 decided to return to his alma mater, where he excelled in basketball and golf, as head golf coach at Lafayette.
Hutnik has seen much success coaching both basketball and golf. He coached basketball for 36 years before returning to Lafayette as a golf coach. Since then, he coached the team to a Patriot League Championship in the 2009-2010 season, was selected as the Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2003, and mentored five All-Patriot League selections.
As a student athlete at Lafayette, Hutnik considered himself more of a basketball player. His brother Steve, however, excelled on the golf team at Lafayette years earlier. This prompted then-head coach George Davidson to encourage him to join the golf team. As a member of the golf team, he was able to stay on the basketball team because, at that time, golf was only played in the spring. Today, there is both a fall and spring season.
During his 36 years of coaching basketball, Hutnik coached men’s teams at a number of institutions, as a head coach at both the college and high school level. Following his retirement as a teacher at Easton High School, Hutnik decided to take the job as head golf coach at Lafayette, as it fit in more with his new retirement schedule.
“It’s probably the envy of a lot of people when you say you’re going to work on the golf course,” he said.
The head coach was excited to return to Lafayette and carry on the tradition of his alma mater. He enjoys getting to relive some of his college memories while being on campus. Hutnik, who is from the area, grew up admiring Lafayette as the “school on the hill,” and was thrilled to get back on campus.
“Golf has definitely changed since he played at Lafayette but it is helpful that he played golf in college because he understands the grind,” Jared Mactas ’17, a member of the golf team, said.
This year, Hutnik considers the golf team a good, competitive group. In the fall, he aims to provide playing opportunities to all the golfers in order to prepare the team for the spring season and league tournament. The Leopards finished 8th last weekend in the Colgate Invitational. Hutnik was impressed with the way the team finished the tournament on Sunday. Lafayette was one of only four teams to break 300, scoring 299, on the last day of play.
When asked about his experience playing for “Coach Hut,” Mactas said that he considers Hutnik both a coach and a friend.
“He goes out of his way to do all he can for the program,” Mactas said. “He does more than what is asked of him.”