Swan song for Gutshall at states

CHARLESTON – Tucker County’s state tournament loss to Notre Dame on Thursday not only ended the Mountain Lions’ season, but the career for veteran coach Tom Gutshall.

“I’m proud of my seniors and I don’t want to make it about me, but this is it for me,” Gutshall said after his squad lost a hard-fought 63-57 overtime decision to the Irish. “It’s been an honor to coach at Tucker County for so many years.

“I can’t thank the kids enough for the hard work and dedication they’ve shown to me throughout my 30-plus years.”

Gutshall, who says he will turn 63 next month, felt the time to step aside was now.

“I decided about midway through the season this was it for me,” he said. “But I didn’t tell the players until after (Thursday’s) game. I’ve been down here (the state tournament) 20 times or so and haven’t been able to win a title, so maybe it’s time to let someone else try.”

Ian Nichols, the team’s leading scorer and a senior on this year’s team, said it was an honor to play for Gutshall.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Nichols said. “He gets the image that he’s tough and intense guy, which he is, but he’s always there for you and helps you grow on and off the court.”