Very rarely do players have to deal with the death of one of their teammates and almost never is a team prepared for such a drastic hit.
Unfortunately, that moment came last Friday for the Tech baseball team when junior pitcher Michael Hutts was found dead in his apartment.
Hutts, a junior in the College of Management, lived in M Street Apartments. He was found dead at about 1:40 p.m. by his roommate.
“This isn’t supposed to happen to fine young men like Michael. It’s not supposed to happen to college student athletes. To have a life cut short like this is just tragic,” said Director of Athletics, Dan Radakovich, in a prepared statement.
Hutts graduated from Wesleyan High School in Norcross, Ga. He held many school records at the school, including the most victories (27), strikeouts (236), innings pitched (213) and ERA (2.03). He was a multi-sport athlete in high school, also competing in basketball and cross-country in his freshman year in 2001.
A cause of death has not been immediately released. Investigators have already ruled out foul play. A final toxicology report should be released in a couple of weeks.
“The tragic news of Michael Hutts’ sudden passing cannot be justified in words. [Hutts] was an outstanding student-athlete, but more importantly an outstanding young man who had a deep impact on his teammates, coaches, classmates and the entire community. Our deepest heartfelt condolences go out to his parents and the entire Hutts family,” Radakovich said.
Radakovich and Head Coach Danny Hall met with the team at 4 p.m. to announce the news to them. A minister and counselor also attended the team meeting. The team was “devastated” when they learned the news.
The discovery happened right before the weekend series with No. 1 Miami was about to begin. The Hurricanes showed up to Russ Chandler Stadium fully dressed for the game as the news had not yet spread to them. The game was postponed to the next day to be played as a doubleheader.
“Our players and the coaching staff were unanimous in support of this decision. The team was certain that a return to the field [today] was necessary and appropriate,” Radakovich said.
On Saturday’s game, the team handed out yellow ribbons in honor of Hutts to the crowd. Some players had specific special tributes for Hutts.
Hutts appeared in nine games this season. He had an ERA of 3.38 in 10 and 2/3 innings pitched. He held opposing batters to a .244 batting average. He was also a key contributor in the 2006 and 2007 campaigns as well.
After the three-game series against Miami, the team was originally scheduled to play against Georgia Southern in a two-game weekday series on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Tuesday game was cancelled so that the team could attend Hutt’s funeral service in the morning
“He always had a smile on his face. Just a good kid and a good athlete,” Radakovich said.
The team will next travel to Maryland for a three game series this weekend.