Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — When Jimmy Hutton arrived at Southeastern in 2015, there was one goal on his mind.
Hutton routinely said he wanted to take the Panthers’ volleyball program to heights it had never seen before and, in the five years he was there, that’s exactly what happened.
After letting school officials know of his resignation just after the end of this past season, Hutton ended a five-year run at Southeastern where he led the Panthers to an overall record of 77-39.
“I am proud of what we accomplished in five years with Southeastern volleyball,” Hutton said. “I took the job with some goals in place and one of those was to change the culture. We also wanted to make a run towards the state volleybal tournament and establish a long-term program. We started slow but we got better each year.”
In 2015, Hutton’s first year with the Panthers, the team went 9-14 and finished seventh in the Scioto Valley Conference.
But following that season, Hutton made a phone call that would eventually help him accomplish each of the goals he had set and change the way Southeastern’s volleyball program was looked at.
When the Panthers took the floor in 2016, both Hutton and Paul Tanedo — a fellow SOVC coach and a friend of Hutton’s — sat on Southeastern’s bench side by side.
“Paul and I are like brothers,” Hutton said of Tanedo. “We have the same ideas about the game and that’s what made it so easy for him to fit right in. We have been involved with helping girls in the area improve their skills over the years by private lessons or group sessions for all ages. We also have been coaching club volleyball for 20-plus years. Paul was my right hand man and meant the world to me and Southeastern volleyball.”
And together, they made a world of difference.
In 2016, the Panthers went 20-6 and won their first district championship since 1995, beating Wheelersburg in four sets.
After a loss in the regional semifinal, Southeastern got right back to work.
The Panthers finished 23-4 in 2017, won a second consecutive district title and played in their first-ever regional championship contest, thanks to a four-set win over Westfall.
That season was followed by a third straight district title and a second consecutive trip to the Elite Eight in 2018, capping a 24-2 season … one where the program won its first SVC title since 1989.
This past fall, the Panthers were 13-13 and finished as a district runner-up.
When you add it altogether, Hutton led Southeastern to a district runner-up finish, three district championships, an SVC title and two regional runner-up finishes.
Hutton has now decided to follow another path in life, but he does so after laying quite the foundation of success at Southeastern.
“I will be retiring in three years and I need to get prepared for that by completing a lot of projects that need to get done,” Hutton said. “The investment of time during a season is unreal to build a strong program. I felt like I couldn’t give a one-hundred percent to that and I will not commit to something I cannot give one-hundred percent to.
“The five-year run was very enjoyable,” Hutton continued. “I want to thank Southeastern’s administration, all parents and coaches, and all the athletes for their desire to make our program successful.”