Barry Cutter said it was a special feeling to be inducted into the Brownstown Central High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
When he learned of the honor, it brought up a lot of old memories.
“I shed a couple of tears,” Cutter said. “I came around the corner and (athletics director Mark DeHart) told me. I still get a little emotional. What an honor.
“It culminates the whole amount of work that you put in for years to be recognized because both my son’s and daughter’s (pictures) are in the gym on the wall of athletes, having made the state meet. So for me to get my plaque out there has been very humbling.”
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Cutter coached track and field at Brownstown Central for 30 years and football for nine years, including two years at the middle school. He served 19 years as track and field head coach.
Cutter’s plaque will be displayed with the other hall of famers in the lobby near the gymnasium. He was inducted during a home football game against Silver Creek on Oct. 6.
“I did it for the kids,” Cutter said. “For them to have success, I’m just glad to be part of it, and above all things, I give God the glory. He has blessed me with a talent to communicate with kids. I took kids home at 1 a.m. because I had a coach that did that, and it’s just a way of me being able to give back to somebody else and try to be a positive influence on someone’s life.
“My life was such that I just had one parent, and I was able to give back to some of those kids that maybe didn’t have a father. I like to feel like I did a lot for a lot of kids over the years, kind of giving back. It was harder and harder to get kids to come and excel at a sport that takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of running and that sort of thing. I had better kids when I had three-sport athletes.”
Cutter played football and competed in track and field at Robert E. Lee Middle School and football and track his sophomore year at Edgewater High School in Orlando, Florida.
He moved to Jennings County High School, where he graduated in 1977. He played football and threw the shot put and discus in track and field.
His football coach at Jennings County was Jerry Chance.
”He was just super-excited to be getting a lineman from Orlando, Florida,” Cutter said. “I started both ways (offense defense) right off the bat.”
During his senior year, he said he was only able to play four football games because of getting mononucleosis.
“I always had aspirations of playing college football, and when I got sick after my fourth game, I did not have the opportunity to get recruited,” he said.
John Fallis was head coach of the Panthers in Cutter’s senior year.
“I’ve had a lot of great friendships through the years with a lot of coaches,” Cutter said.
He was the Panthers’ No. 1 shot putter with a best throw of 48 feet, and he threw the discus 139 feet.
“I was decent. I could compete, and I had a lot of fun,” Cutter said.
Bill Ludwig was his track and field coach at Jennings County.
“I have great respect for coach Ludwig. He taught me an awful lot,” Cutter said.
“I guess the main thing is, I had a lot of coaches early in life that looked out for me, and I felt an obligation to give back and do that for them, as well,” he said. “That is how I felt about track.”
Cutter said he liked seeing the athletes have success.
“I enjoyed coaching the athletes, and not just the top athletes,” Cutter said. “Knowing that one kid had success at something, whether it was a kid just being involved and having someone come from a freshman that really didn’t score or anything and then became a senior and was able to contribute to a conference championship.
“And just getting kids to win at the finish line and get to go to the state meet. My son (Kwin), to coach him, and his senior year, he was able to overcome a broken foot in the middle of the season.”
Cutter, who became track and field head coach in 1991, won three Mid-Southern Conference titles and was MSC Coach of the Year twice. His last year as head coach was 2009, one year after his son graduated from BCHS.
“I had 19 years as head coach and only had two losing seasons,” Cutter said. “That was a pretty good accomplishment on my side. I gave up several sectionals to Brown County and Seymour. It was just a great opportunity to get to see kids excel and have success in multiple years.”
He said he was also pleased he had a chance to coach his nephew, Noah Cutter.
Cutter said he saw several changes in track and field during his coaching career.
When he first started coaching, he said the IHSAA had qualifying standards an athlete had to have in order to participate in the sectional. The Braves competed in sectionals at Bedford and Bloomington, and the state meet was at Bloomington and Indianapolis.
He said the equipment has changed, and the other big change was getting students to come out and stay out.
“The rules have changed a lot over the years,” Cutter said. “Certainly, the surfaces have changed. We had an old asphalt track when I first started, and now, we have a rubberized track.”
Cutter said he is looking forward to the school getting an eight-lane track in the near future.
“That is something I’ve always dreamed about and as the head coach,” Cutter said. “I now have aspirations of hopefully being a meet director for a sectional championship out here someday. That would probably put the cherry on top of the milkshake to be able to do that.”
With kids participating in club basketball and volleyball nowadays, Cutter said there aren’t many athletes who just specialize in track and field.
When he was the head coach, he said he a number of athletes, including his son and daughter, Mackenzie, went to the Indiana University Track Club.
Mackenzie still holds the school record in the discus, and she went on to throw the javelin at IU. She was a strength and conditioning coach at Miami of Ohio for 4½ years and now is academic athletics coordinator at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Her husband is the strength coach for the men’s basketball team there, and they work together.
“She has remained in athletics in some form or fashion still today,” Cutter said.
Following graduation at Jennings County, Cutter attended Ball State and graduated in 1981, where he received double majors and double minors. He received several scholarships, including The Hoosier Scholarship.
In his first year at Brownstown, he did substitute teaching and was a play coach in football.
The following school year, Cutter taught U.S. history at the high school and became an assistant football coach that fall and an assistant track coach under Tom Ritz and was strength and conditioning coach.
Cutter’s highest individual finisher at state was Mark Crossman, who finished third in the 800-meter run.
Cutter keeps a top-10 all-time list in the shot put and discus at BCHS. Joe Barnes, who graduated in 2017, tops both lists, but eight of the other nine names on those lists are athletes coached by Cutter.
“In such a small school, I’ve had nine kids throw over 150 feet in the discus,” Cutter said. “A lot of those kids are carrying that on or are coaching and doing different things. It’s rewarding from that side of things.”
Barry Cutter’s highlights:
- BCHS teacher 36 years
- N.I.E. Teacher of the Year 2000
- “Realizing the Dream” Award 2005
- Boys track and field coach 30 years
- Head coach 19 years (1991 to 2009)
- Assistant coach 11 years
- Winning seasons 17
- Overall record: 616-205-3
- MSC championships 3
- MSC Coach of the Year 2
- BCHS record holders 9
- State finalists 14
- All-state athletes 2
- Football coach 9 years
- Varsity assistant 7 years
- BCMS coach 2 years
- Boys strength and conditioning coach 4 years
- BCHS Booster Club sponsor 13 years
- BCHS Lettermen’s Club sponsor 6 years