Former Nebraska Teacher, Coach and Farmer Excited About ‘Red Out’ in Brazil
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For Dan "Hutch" Hutchison, the first-ever Nebraska Red Out Around the World comes at a perfect time.
After nearly six decades of watching important Nebraska football games, mostly in his home state, Hutch - a former Nebraska teacher, coach, farmer and school superintendent - now wears red and celebrates from Brazil.
That's why Nebraska's highly orchestrated Oct. 16 Red Out event for the Texas game is perfectly timed because it gives Hutch a chance to reconnect with something that's been a part of his life since he watched Bobby Reynolds from a knothole seat in the South end zone in the 1950s.
Hutch also saw Fred Duda, Willie Ross and Bobby Hohn overpower Gale Sayers' record 99-yard touchdown for Kansas in 1963.
Then, of course, there were Hutch's undergraduate years (1968-72) at NU when the Huskers rose to national prominence.
"Great games, great times, great memories," Hutch says with respect and nostalgia. "I loved watching (Johnny) Rodgers and (Jerry) Tagge and (Rich) Glover and (Willie) Harper and everyone else on those first two back-to-back national championship teams."
In 1983, Hutch returned to campus as a graduate student and watched Turner Gill, Mike Rozier and Irving Fryar put on their weekly fireworks displays as the highest scoring team in the history of college football.
Fondest Memory: Osborne's First National Title
But Hutch's fondest memory came in 1994 when his oldest son, Derek, joined him in Miami to watch Tom Osborne win his first national championship. He still cherishes that hour they spent in the North end zone immediately after the game, cheering the Huskers and shaking hands with everyone soaking it all in.
A year later, Hutch traveled to Phoenix to visit his parents and watch the win over Florida by what he calls the greatest college football team ever. "I will never forget that run by Tommie Frazier," he said.
Two years after that, Hutch got a birds-eye view of "The Catch" that came his way while he was sitting in the corner of the end zone watching Scott Frost find Matt Davison via Shevin Wiggins' outstretched leg. "I have relatives in Missouri, and we were all there for the overtime thriller in Columbia," Hutch said.
Miracles enable magic, and Hutch made sure he didn't miss Osborne's last game as head coach, returning to Miami for the rout of Tennessee and a third national title in four fast-moving, mind-boggling, history-making seasons.
So how does a 61-year-old guy like Hutch end up in Brazil, about 5,500 miles from the epicenter of Nebraska's Oct. 16 Red Out Around the World showdown with Texas?
"I'm divorced and just retired from my job as superintendent at Stapleton (Neb.) last June," Hutch said. "I moved to Brazil to be with my fiance. She's a doctor and a professor at the State University in Sao Paulo."
Hutch never dreamed he would be living in a megalopolis of 20 million people. "Not when you're born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska, and you end up teaching and coaching there for so many years," he said.
He Coached a State Championship Team
Hutch coached Cedar Rapids to a six-man state championship and a state runner-up title. He also led Stapleton to three straight state playoff appearances and a state eight-man 2 runner-up finish in 2006.
He feels blessed by all of those experiences. "I was able to coach all four of my children, and each had some success," Hutch said.
His daughter's basketball teams were conference champions. His oldest son's high school football teams were state champs and state runner-up. His oldest son coached with him at Stapleton while his youngest twin sons played football together there.
Hutch is your typical hard-working, unassuming Nebraskan. He never coached at a large school, so lack of depth was always a problem. He remembers how he welcomed a bye week that gave his two-way players a chance to heal. For him, a bye week was a chance to review fundamentals, improve strategically and put in a few special plays or defensive stunts for use in a tight game.
He sees Nebraska using its bye week somewhat similarly before playing at Kansas State Oct. 7. "I was surprised that Washington did not blitz and stunt more like South Dakota State did," Hutch said. "South Dakota State had some good strategies for Nebraska, and I think they will turn out to be blessings in disguise. We may have been a little flat, but that game will help us fix the things we need to fix and get to where we want to go - from a good team to a great team."
Last July, right after he retired, Hutch and his fiancé took a whirlwind trip from one coast to the other - from New York, Boston, Albany and Niagara Falls to Los Angeles and San Francisco with a midway stop to Nebraska and Colorado in between.
Getting A Preview of Red Out Around the World
During that entire trip, Hutch got a taste of what Red Out Around the World has the potential to be - a place to go for everyone you know who lives and breathes Big Red football.
And who knows what a nationally publicized Red Out game day will mean to an outsider?
"I wore a Nebraska cap in almost all of those places we visited, and my fiancé could not believe how many conversations that cap started," Hutch said. "She was amazed that so many people would make so many positive comments without even knowing me."
Call it the power of red. Women in New York and cab drivers and rental car workers everywhere wanted to talk about the Cornhuskers.
"I guess I was surprised once," Hutch said. "We had a cab driver in LA, and he told me he liked Nebraska more than he liked USC. He thinks we can come in and recruit more players just like Taylor Martinez because Nebraska has such great national respect."
The cabbie took a liking to Nebraska when he saw how Big Red fans supported the team after a loss - a trait that the cabbie says differentiates Nebraska from other programs. Having taken loads of Husker fans to and from the Coliseum four years earlier, the cabbie said Nebraska fans have spirit, and they have sportsmanship. And, oh yes, he also said they love and understand the game like no one else.
Count Hutch as one who has marveled at how Nebraska has changed in all his years as a native son.
"We all know how Coach Osborne was willing to change, and I think Bo Pelini shares that same characteristic," Hutch said.
Hutch: Success is Often Built on Failure
"When you have the ability to adapt and change as needed, you can't have a big ego - whether it's in recruiting, scheme, game plan or game management," Hutch said. "Success is often built on failure."
If you don't believe that, Hutch points to Osborne changing his offensive scheme from a passing attack to an option attack and then to a multiple attack based on option and play-action with zone, combo and man-on-man blocking.
"He also changed his defense from the 5-2 to the 4-3 and used that change to recruit speed," Hutch said.
According to Hutch, Pelini focused on scheme and personnel to slow and stop the spread and no-huddle offenses in the Big 12. "And he developed a multiple offense that can be adapted to the strengths of his personnel," Hutch said, pointing out how Nebraska adapted last year's game plan to account for injuries to the offensive line and quarterback, so the defense, special teams and a great kicker/punter would have the best chance to create field position and win games.
Hutch won't be watching the Nebraska-Texas game on TV, but he will be glued to Huskers.com on the Internet in Sao Paulo, listening to Greg Sharpe, Matt Davison and Lane Grindle. He will watch video highlights on both ESPN and Huskers.com and within a couple days, he will check out a full-game replay and the Bo Pelini Show as a premium subscriber on HuskersNside.
For Red Out Around the World, "We will be wearing our red shirts and our red caps and cheering on the Huskers from halfway around the world," he said.
Hutch also uses the Internet and Skype to keep in contact with his family. "We plan to travel back to the states often to see my family and hopefully some games in the future," he said, noting that his mom still has season tickets.
A Nebraskan Who Combined Hunting with Football
With Hutch, you can sense the nostalgia of Big Red football half a world away.
He did, after all, grow up listening to games while pheasant hunting on fall Saturdays with his dad. "I've been very fortunate to hear, watch and attend some of the greatest Husker games ever," Hutch said. "I heard the upset of Oklahoma in 1959 when we broke their long (74-game) conference winning streak. I remember the win over Michigan in Devaney's second game. I haven't been to a lot of games over the years, but I manage to get to the big ones. I'm glad I was there when Alex Henery kicked his 57-yard field goal against Colorado. I would have hated to miss that."
Now that Hutch lives in Sao Paulo, he plans to learn Portuguese and then teach for a few years until his fiancé retires. "Our goal when that happens is to live half of the year in northeast Brazil, so we can enjoy the beautiful beaches and the weather and the great food, then spend the other half of the year in the states."
The economy of Brazil is booming, and the middle class is growing rapidly. "The culture is a little different," Hutch said, "but the people here are very friendly, and the weather is good most of the year."
Dan "Hutch" Hutchison is no fair-weather fan. "Husker football and Husker Nation are very special to me," he said. "Osborne, Pelini and Company have brought dedication, hard work, responsibility and toughness back to the program. Never again may we have a game like we did against Oklahoma State three years ago because Nebraska never quits, and we always prepare and play hard."
That same proven formula is the only way to finish in the Big 12, Hutch said, adding that the approach won't change when the Huskers move next year to the Big Ten, giving Nebraska a chance to show how work ethic, values and passion have positioned the program among the nation's elite.
"Nebraska is in a unique position historically and has a lot of things going for it right now, including the fans," Hutch said. "I don't ever see us underestimating the value of our loyal fan base."
He Sees Red Out as Annual Event for Big Red Fans
Hutch's own statement triggers an idea.
"Wouldn't it be something," Hutch said, "if Nebraska had a Red Out Around the World every year?"
To a teacher, a coach and a farmer now embarking on another great life adventure, such an idea makes perfect sense.
The question is, does it make sense to you?