Saturday Morning Quarterback

Andy Reed • Updated Jul 27, 2013 at 12:43 AM

Mayor watches coaching proteges' with pride

As Wilson County mayor, Randall Hutto roots for all of the local teams to do well. It's good politics.

When Wilson Central and Watertown took home boys' district basketball championships Tuesday night, he might have felt more like a proud papa.

Central coach Troy Bond and Watertown's Matt Bradshaw both played and coached for Hutto at Lebanon.

"It's special for me to see how good they do," Hutto said a couple of nights ago.

Hutto was a young assistant coach under Hester Gibbs in the mid-1980s when Bond helped the Cinderella Blue Devils to the State Tournament. When Hutto became head coach in 1991, Bradshaw was a sophomore guard who endured a couple of losing seasons before the program began a long run of 20-win seasons as a senior.

By that time, Bond had returned home from a college basketball career to assist Hutto. The year after Bradshaw graduated, Lebanon made the first of three State Tournament trips under Hutto.

While on a golf scholarship at Cumberland, Bradshaw returned to his alma mater a year later to begin a coaching career. The three of them were part of the staff [along with current Macon County coach Jason Welch] which saw the Blue Devils make back-to-back State trips in 2000 and '01.

On the '00 team, which reached the semifinals, the deepest an LHS boys team has ever gone in the tournaments, was a backup point guard named Jim McDowell, who now calls the shots as the Blue Devil head coach. Hutto calls McDowell's games as the radio color analyst alongside another of his former players, play-by-play man Jon Boyce.

"Those guys were probably more help to me than I was to them," Hutto said. "Maybe it's more like a brother than a father."

Hutto finished his 12-year career with a 237-123 record. In his 12th season at Central, Bond has almost duplicated his mentor's record with a 233-127 mark with at least one game to go this year. Both led three teams to the State Tournament. Bond's 2004 Wildcats matched the '00 Blue Devils' achievement of reaching the state semifinals, which was surpassed only last year by Friendship Christian's run to the championship

Bradshaw, in his 10th season as a head coach at Friendship and Watertown, passed the 200-win plateau earlier this year. One of his assistants is Leon Love, a star guard on Lebanon's '95 team, and another is Brian Gaines, who was a Bond teammate. Another '95 Blue Devil, Brad Major, currently serves on Bond's Central staff.

"They're driven to be successful," Hutto said of his players/assistant coaches-turned-head coaches. "Success comes their way because they care about their kids, both on the court and off the court.

"Wins and losses will take care of themselves."

Welch's Macon County team just finished third in its district. McDowell just finished his second season at his alma mater and while the Blue Devils have struggled, it could be a parallel to Hutto's early woes.

"It took us a couple of years to get on track and then we had 20-win seasons every year," Hutto said.

Hutto has seen Bond's Wildcats play a couple of time this season when they played Lebanon. A Watertown graduate, he's only gotten to see Bradshaw's Purple Tigers just once, though he did speak to both the boys' and girls' teams there before the district tournaments began.

He faces a dilemma as both of his proteges' play at home at 7 p.m. tonight as region tournament play begins. Bond's Wildcats will play host to Rossview while Bradshaw's Tigers entertain Pickett County.

"I will do my best to get to both," Hutto said. "I have not made up my mind just which one I will get to. It'll be a tough call."

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