by Scott DCamp
There was a familiar face awaiting the Thief River Falls boys’ tennis team when it traveled to Moorhead Monday night.
Jorde Hutton, a 2014 graduate of Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls, is now the head coach at Moorhead High School.
“So far so good,” Hutton assessed after a few weeks on the job. “We had no idea what we’d have coming in for numbers. We are at 34, which is a lot mor than we were expecting.”
Hutton is no stranger to coaching tennis. He has helped another rookie head coach, Thief River Falls Head Coach Fabian Tunberg, with his summer program and helped out as a middle school basketball coach in Moorhead, which has helped his recruiting efforts within the district.
Outside of coaching, Hutton is a full-time student at Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he is majoring in secondary math education.
Hutton’s accelerated path toward becoming a head coach actually started because he was looking for an opportunity to be an assistant coach.
“I was actually planning on volunteering as a coach this year,” Hutton said. “I was online looking for a couple things to do this summer for a job. I saw that they had an opening [at Moorhead High] and I applied.”
Hutton said it was in December that he discovered the opening at Moorhead High School. He sent his first email to the school right before Christmas break and when he returned there were a couple email responses waiting for him.
Hutton got the job in January. He had one assistant coach, Scott Mathewson, who is also the girls head coach.
Monday’s dual meet between Thief River Falls and Moorhead pitted former doubles partners against each other as head coaches. Hutton spent most of his career playing doubles, including his sophomore year during which he was paired with Tunberg.
Hutton played singles his senior year and helped the Prowlers earn an 11th consecutive Section 8A title.
There are, on occasion, some scheduling conflicts that arise from being both a full-time student and high school head coach.
“On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have classes that run through practice a little bit, but my professors said, pursuing a degree in education that this is something that I have to do,” Hutton said.
At Moorhead, Hutton will work with a team that has some experience that is paired with a lot of inexperience.
“We have a lot of guys that are new,” Hutton said. “Of the 34, 10 or 11 played last year and only three or four are back from last years team. Other than that, its a lot of guys out for the first time.”
Despite the new faces, Hutton said he is pretty confident in who will be his top 10 player to start the year.
“I’m pretty confident in who I will have in my varsity lineup, its just where to put them,” Hutton said. “Finding the right combination of 10 to get the four points that we need.”
Hutton said the Spuds have historically been a strong singles team and, so far, that’s been the case this year.
“Playing as much doubles as I did, I am hoping to strengthen that as well,” Hutton said.
Hutton called on his team captains to help set goals for the 2017 season.
“For this season, before the season started, I talked with the captains about where they wanted to go,” Hutton said. “Last year, Moorhead was a four seed in the north half of the section. This year, we want to fight for the top seed in the north and have a shot at competing for a section title. I want to make sure that tennis is a sport that the kids enjoy. I want to give that same experience to the guys here.”
Graduation looms for the college junior and Hutton is hoping to stay on at Moorhead High when his time at MSUM is complete. One of his college classes has him currently working with a Moorhead Middle School math class. Next year, he will be student teaching and he is trying to student teach at Moorhead High School.