“I miss everything about Morehead. It was my home for almost 27 years,” says Brian Hutchinson (96) when reflecting on his time at Morehead State University as both a student and administrator.
Hutchinson came to Morehead as a freshman in the fall of 1992. At that time, no one knew what impact he would have on campus in the coming years. Raised in Louisa, Kentucky, Brian and his twin brother, Brent (96), both graduated from Lawrence County High School at the top of their class.
“Morehead was pretty aggressive in recruiting both of us. Our parents both went to Morehead. That’s where they met. So for comfort reasons it made sense for both of us to go to Morehead State.”
One of those recruiters for MSU was Tim Rhodes (76). “Randy Wells (60) and I teamed up to recruit Brian. We have had many good conversations and have become good friends over the years.”
According to Hutchinson, he didn’t get involved his first year on campus. “The first year was a typical freshman year, and I wasn’t involved in much of anything. I was tied more to home than to the school.”
All that changed during his sophomore year when he met Elizabeth Williamson (96), who would eventually become his wife. He also rushed Sigma Alpha Epsilon and took a seat on Student Government Association Congress.
“There were some people from Lawrence County that were in SAE, and I began to connect more with them in my second semester. When rush came around that fall (1993), I became a member of SAE.”
The SGA president, Bryan Carlier (93), was also an SAE and asked some of the new members if they would be interested in filling open seats on the SGA Congress. “There were a couple of open slots on congress, one of which was the College of Business rep. I was a business student, so I volunteered to do it,” said Hutchinson. By the time his junior year came around, Hutchinson ran and was elected SGA vice president for programming where he got to work with Susette Redwine (78) and Larry Stephenson (64).
“Brian was wise beyond his years. He understood what his job was from the start. When we planned concerts for SGA, he understood the contracts and that it was a long commitment. He wasn’t afraid to work. We worked hard together and played hard as well,” said Redwine.
After a successful year of programming, Hutchinson ran and was elected SGA president his senior year. His experience as SGA president and student regent opened new doors for Hutchinson.
“When you develop high-level university relationships as a student, you get to know people that work at the University who are really meaningful to the University.”
Upon graduation in 1996 Hutchinson was hired to work in the development office under Keith Kappes (70) and Bill Redwine (79) as a regional development officer in the Office of Alumni Relations and Development.
“Brian had a passion for MSU that was unparalleled and jumped right in with organizing fund drives for our regional campus centers. He developed relationships throughout the region that benefitted the University for many years. Brian was the type of staffer that, as a supervisor, I never had to worry about or look over his shoulder to make sure he was on task. He set his own goals and objectives to meet and off he went.”– Bill Redwine
From that first job, Hutchinson quickly transitioned to a position as athletics development officer.
“I had been in development for a couple years and enjoyed the relationships that you develop, but my personal interests were always around athletics. I certainly knew I couldn’t coach or play, but what better way for me to use whatever ability I had to fundraise or to think about external relations than to do it in athletics? If I could marry those two things, I thought that would be a tremendous opportunity for me,” said Hutchinson.
After transitioning into athletics, Hutchinson again credits those experiences as a student for increasing his professional progress.
“Because of the relationships I’d developed as a student, I knew Mike Mincey (69), and he had a sense of who I was. Mike began to trust my ability to do some things, and I never said no. I found myself involved in many different parts of the department doing development, marketing, sports supervision, administrative supervision, reports and the budget. While I had great mentors, I had to learn a lot just by doing it.”
In 2004, Brian was asked to serve as Morehead State’s director of athletics. At the age of thirty, he was the youngest AD in Division 1.
“I was confident that I could do that job, but I knew what I didn’t know,” he said. He credits the mentorship of Madonna Weathers (71), Rex Cheney (57), Bill Redwine, Mindy Highly (91), Larry Stephenson, Tim Rhodes, and many others who helped him transition into his new role.
“For me it was an easy decision to make… that Brian was the right person to be our AD. I was never disappointed and remain proud of him and the job he did for the university,” said Weathers.
Under Hutchinson’s leadership, Morehead State University reached new heights, recording 21 conference championships and nine NCAA tournament appearances. For him, a few particular highlights stand out.
“When the soccer team won the OVC Tournament in 2008, that was the first time we had been to an NCAA Tournament in any sport in 24 years. That was also the same year we went to Nashville and beat Austin Peay and got to go to Dayton (for the NCAA basketball tournament) and play in the opening round game against Alabama State. That was a very big year for me, because it felt like a validation of what we were trying to do,” said Hutchinson. “Certainly, the victory over Louisville in the NCAA basketball tournament was a professional highlight that I think a lot of people would share.”
In March of this year, Hutchinson was named director of athletics at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.
“I feel like we had a nice run at Morehead State. We did things on levels that at MSU were unprecedented, but you begin to wonder if you can do it again. Can we take a really good athletic department and make it a great athletic department?”
Despite having less funding than a Division 1 school, Hutchinson is excited and confident about the future of LMU’s athletics program. “The differences here versus Division 1, the money is much more even. If all things are equal, can you beat somebody that’s got what you have? I believe we can do that here. That’s the challenge that keeps me waking up early every day.”
As Hutchinson assumed his new role at LMU, Morehead State announced the appointment of Jaime Gordon as interim director of athletics. “I’m really happy for Jaime and the department. The leadership abilities that he always exhibited translate well for the challenges he will face as AD. He’s a friend and true loyal Eagle. Great things are ahead for MSU athletics,” said Hutchinson.
For Hutchinson choosing to leave MSU was not an easy decision.
“Certainly, the biggest part I’ll miss about Morehead are the people and the friendships. There is no question that I stayed there as long as I did because of the relationships that I was a part of every single day,” he said.
When asked if we may see him at homecoming, Hutchinson jokes, “Maybe, I don’t see why not.” He smiles, “Maybe I can have a beer.”