HAMBLETON, W.Va. — This past week, Tucker County head basketball coach Tom Gutshall surpassed a significant career milestone by earning his 500th win with a 68-51 victory over Trinity. The veteran head coach is in his 32nd year at the helm with the Mountain Lions.
However, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to successful coaching in the Gutshall family.
“Well, my dad coached at Parsons High School. He came here in ’57 and coached there until he consolidated Tucker County high school in ’79,” he said. Bob Gutshall totaled 319 overall wins, competed in the state tournament five times, won eleven sectional titles and four conference championships during his tenure.
“Then I have a brother who coaches football at Dorman High School in South Carolina. He’s won a couple of state championships there and he won two or three in North Carolina,” Gutshall continued. “My dad, he’s always been the biggest influence in both our lives.”
Tucker County entered Friday’s game against Class A powerhouse Charleston Catholic with a 14-2 overall record – following a 60-26 loss to the Irish and then a 49-47 loss to Buffalo on Saturday, however, Gutshall’s club certainly will have some things to fine tune down the stretch run of the regular season before heading into sectional play.
“We’ve been inconsistent to be honest,” Gutshall said. “I think we can play with anybody, but sometimes we play and can get beat by anybody.”
Tucker County was overall No. 4 in Class A last week in the MetroNews Power Index as senior Ian Nicholas has been one of the centerpieces overall, scoring his 1,000th career point last month.
“He’s gotten better and better – he can play inside and out,” Gutshall said. “This year we have the luxury of being able to play him out on the wing instead of underneath, which he’s probably better out on the wing. He’s just a very intelligent kid.”
Nicholas has plenty of talent surrounding him as well, including Derek Zirk, Mitchell Mason and Zach Armstrong. But as for making another run in the postseason?
“Well the biggest thing is we’re going to have play defense,” Gutshall said. “Like I told our kids, we’re going to find out where we’re at and (if we have) a legit chance to compete for a state championship, we’re going to find out in the next four ball games.”
The Mountain Lions have a regular season matchup looming with state tournament contender and sectional rival Notre Dame – a team they lost to earlier this season, 62-53.
But regardless of how this season winds up for Tucker County in the end, there’s no doubt Gutshall’s legacy at the Class A school is continuing to grow as he adds on to those 500 wins. o
“We’ll go in a cycle where you have a good team for two years then you go down,” he said. “We’ve been very success for a very long period of time. I think in the 31 years we’ve only had there losing seasons, so that’s pretty good for a community as small as Tucker County.”
Boys Basketball Schedule
|2||12/16/13 07:30PM||A||NOTRE DAME||53||–||62||L|
|4||12/20/13 07:30PM||H||EAST HARDY||79||–||40||W|
|5||12/27/13 06:00PM||A||PHILIP BARBOUR (ELKINS MIXER)||64||–||38||W|
|6||12/28/13 07:45PM||A||ELKINS (ELKINS MIXER)||76||–||66||W|
|8||canceled||H||NOTRE DAME (MAKE UP)||–|
|10||01/11/14 02:30PM||A||POCAHONTAS COUNTY||72||–||27||W|
|11||01/15/14 07:30PM||A||SOUTHERN GARRETT, MD H.S.||70||–||83||L|
|12||01/17/14 07:30PM||A||TYGARTS VALLEY||68||–||40||W|
|15||canceled||H||NOTRE DAME (MAKE UP)||–|
|17||01/30/14 05:45PM||H||TYGARTS VALLEY (MAKE UP)||71||–||34||W|
|18||02/05/14 07:30PM||A||EAST HARDY||85||–||20||W|
|19||02/07/14 07:30PM||H||SOUTHERN GARRETT, MD H.S.||60||–||41||W|
|20||02/08/14 07:30PM||H||PENDLETON COUNTY(MAKE UP)||67||–||57||W|
|21||02/10/14 07:30PM||H||MOOREFIELD (MAKE-UP)||85||–||46||W|
|24||canceled||A||PENDLETON COUNTY(MAKE UP)||–|
|25||canceled||H||POCAHONTAS COUNTY (MAKE UP)||–|
|27||02/21/14 07:30PM||A||CHARLESTON CATHOLIC||60||–||26||L|
|29||02/24/14 06:30PM||H||NOTRE DAME (MAKE UP)||–|
|31||03/04/14 05:45PM||A||SECTIONAL @ ELKINS HIGH||–|
|32||03/06/14 07:00PM||A||SECTIONAL @ ELKINS HIGH||–|
|wins: 14 lost: 4 ties: 0|