By JAMIE BAKER
BASCOM — Jeremy Nutter won’t return for a seventh season as the head football coach at Hopewell-Loudon High School.
Nutter was informed that he would not be offered a coaching contract next season in a meeting with athletic director Tony Swanagan on Friday.
While surprised, and a little disappointed, Nutter has no hard feelings that the school’s administration has decided to take the football program in another direction.
“I’m disappointed, but I’m also appreciative of the years we had at Hopewell-Loudon and the effort the kids put forth. With the things we did on and off the field, they were great representatives of our school at all times,” Nutter said.
“I have nothing but good things to say about Hopewell-Loudon. I’ll continue to teach there and my kids will go to school there. It’s a terrific community and I’m blessed to be a part of it.”
Nutter’s departure is the latest in a wave of administrative resignations and coaching non-renewals at the school over the past year.
Since last spring the school’s superintendent, high school principal, district treasurer and athletic director have all departed and taken jobs elsewhere. The school also non-renewed the contracts of last year’s varsity boys and girls basketball coaches and wrestling coach.
The school is also in the middle of trying to find a new permanent superintendent to replace interim superintendent Rod Russell, who was hired to bridge the gap when Nicole Jiran left the district May 29 to take the position of director of teaching and learning at Marion City Schools.
Nutter, who came to the school from Van Buren, posted a 34-27 record in six seasons as Hopewell-Loudon’s head coach. He replaced Brian Colatruglio, who led the program to back-to-back state runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2008.
Nutter’s Chieftains went 6-4 in his first year and posted a 10-0 record while winning the Midland Athletic League and making the playoffs in 2011. Hopewell-Loudon was 4-5, 5-5 and 3-7 the next three seasons before posting a 6-4 record last fall.
“We had a bit of a rough patch after the 10-0 season in 2011. Then, moving to the Blanchard Valley Conference was a difficult adjustment too,” Nutter said.
“We were facing different competition and a much more competitive schedule. I thought this year we really turned the corner with wins over Calvert and Liberty-Benton. I really thought we were headed back in the right direction.”
While he’s been sidelined by Hopewell-Loudon as the school’s head football coach, Nutter still expects to coach in the future.
“I’ve been blessed to make a lot of good friends in this profession and I really appreciate the support I’ve received the past couple of days,” Nutter said. “Hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity to be an assistant coach because I still want to stay involved in the sport.”
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