Stockton University Athletics today is mourning the loss of long-time assistant men’s basketball coach Bob Hutchings, who passed away last night, approximately eight weeks after suffering a massive heart attack. Affectionately known as “Hutch”, Hutchings was a basketball lifer with an eclectic coaching resume that spanned nearly 50 years.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about the void the Hutch leaves. At various times he was a father figure, brother, friend, mentor and colleague to me,” said Stockton head coach Scott Bittner. “Hutch was a guy who could always pull a player aside in practice or on the bench and give him a boost or make him feel better.”
Hutchings, 72, was in the 17th year of his third stint and 26th season overall at Stockton. He coached under Joe Carideo in 1979 and later served as an assistant coach on Gerry Matthews’ staff for eight of the nine seasons between 1990 and 1999.
Hutchings rejoined Matthews on the Stockton bench in 2006 and remained there through the transition to Bittner as head coach in 2016 until his passing yesterday. The Ospreys won eight NJAC championships, earned 13 NCAA Tournament berths and reached the 2009 NCAA championship game with Hutchings on the bench.
A native of Millville, Hutchings scored over 1,000 points on the collegiate level at Wheeling Jesuit University, for which he later was selected to the Wheeling Jesuit Athletic Hall of Fame and Wheeling University Hall of Honor. Hutchings played professionally in Holland and then enlisted in the Army and worked for its athletic department at West Point.
Hutchings’ coaching odyssey began as an assistant on legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s staff at Army in 1975. Hutchings completed his military service after two seasons under Krzyzewski at Army and remained friends with the winningest coach in Division I basketball history for the rest of his life.
Hutchings worked as a counselor at Krzyzewski’s summer camp at Duke for 40 years starting in 1981 and attended Krzyzewski’s final regular season game last March.
Hutchings amassed a 91-57 record and won one Cape Atlantic League championship as the head boys coach at Bridgeton High School from 1981-87. He also was the head coach at Cumberland County College from 1999-2004 prior to rejoining the Stockton staff in 2006.
In addition to his scholastic and college roles, Hutchings also coached on the international level. He was an assistant coach for the Saudi Arabian national team after leaving Army and later coached American players in international tournaments for the Student Athlete World Tours organization.
Hutchings was revered throughout South Jersey and inducted into the Millville Thunderbolts Hall of Fame, New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, All Sports Museum of Southern New Jersey Hall of Fame and Stockton Athletics Hall of Fame twice, with the 1995-96 and 2008-09 Osprey teams.