He simply is known as "Hutch."

Ron Hutcheson, a longtime coach and athletics supervisor at Grove City High School, announced his retirement earlier this year, effective Saturday, June 30.

He will be replaced as athletics supervisor by Greg Waits, who coached the boys basketball team the past 15 seasons, pending school board approval.

Athletics director Kris Sander said the search for Waits' replacement as basketball coach would begin immediately.

Hutcheson's career at Grove City spanned more than 40 years, during which he worked under six athletic directors. He calls former athletics director Jack Lehr, who now resides in Florida, his mentor.

"Jack taught be a lot of things," Hutcheson said. "He's a great guy. He's the reason I got this job. He motivated me to stay in education, at least the athletic part of it."

Sander, who completed her first year as athletics director, said Hutcheson helped her make a smooth transition after she previously had served as assistant principal at South-Western Career Academy.

"It's going to be a huge loss," Sander said. "It's big shoes to fill. His knowledge of Grove City High School athletics is unbelievable, so it's going to be difficult to make the transition."

Hutcheson joined the school district in 1970 as a physical education teacher at Park Street Intermediate School.

He became Grove City's softball coach in 1976 and held the position for 25 years. He guided the Greyhounds to the 1983 Division I state championship, 10 OCC championships, eight district titles and four regional titles and two state runner-up finishes. His teams had a .764 winning percentage.

"The 1983 state championship team was a special year," said Hutcheson, who became a physical education and health teacher at Grove City in 1978. "We went the furthest, we won the state championship. You can't go much further than that, but to say that was the best team would be a shortcoming of a lot of different teams that didn't make it quite that far."

Hutcheson resigned after the 2000 season and was succeeded by Ted Williams, who completed his 18th season this spring. Under Williams, the Greyhounds have won nine OCC titles, seven district championships and three regional titles and finished as state runner-up in 2010.

"When I started, I just took the program and ran with it," Hutcheson said. "Ted had a tough job because there was history as far as our team was concerned and you battle that a little bit as a coach. He's done a great job of transitioning to a program that he's comfortable with and successful with."

Hutcheson, who also served as gymnastics coach and an assistant football coach at Grove City, coached the softball team at Westland in 2001 and 2002.

He then served as athletics supervisor at Central Crossing for two years, beginning in 2003, before joining Grove City in the same position in 2005. Among his duties were helping put form team schedules and monitoring game-day activities.

A typical spring or fall day at Grove City included Hutcheson going from one home athletic event to another via the school's utility vehicle.

"I'm going to miss the responsibilities in feeling you're a part of a larger organization," he said. "I enjoyed athletic contests. I'm just a Grove City Greyhound fan in anything. It's a difficult job. You have to set up for every home game, you're here for every home game. It's grinding on this position because you have to be here every night."

Hutcheson gained the respect of many coaches, including baseball coach Ryan Alexander, who completed his 10th season this spring.

"We're definitely going to miss him," Alexander said. "Being a softball coach and football coach for years, he was definitely an athletics-minded guy on what coaches need. He understood when coaches were fighting for court time and trying to work through that process and getting equal playing time. He was always there to help out."

Hutcheson also takes pride in the close relationships he has built with other administrators in South-Western City Schools, including former Westland athletics director Greg Burke and current Central Crossing athletics supervisor Dennis Dew, as well as other administrators in the OCC.

"The three of us certainly understood who we were, why we were and what we were trying to do," Burke said. "There were a lot of good things started and hopefully will continue. Even though we're not state champions year-in and year-out, we're respected. We did the right things to put the stamp of approval on our programs and our schools."

Hutcheson is a member of the OCC Hall of Fame, the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Grove City Hall of Fame and the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Hall of Fame.

Hutcheson is unsure of his future endeavors, but plans on spending more time with his wife, Kathy, as well as his son, Joe; daughter, Karen; and six grandchildren.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank