GUY — At one point Friday night, fans at a near packed house at the Thunderbird Complex were asked to stand if they had either played for, played against or had coached with or against retiring Guy-Perkins coach John Hutchcraft.
About 40 percent of the crowd stood, both from Guy-Perkins and St. Joseph and beyond.
Hutchcraft coached his last game on the Thunderbirds' home court. It was a special evening of tributes and cheers.
When introduced before a ceremony at halftime of the senior girls game, Hutchcraft received a standing ovation, both from Guy and St. Joseph supporters.
Many of the Guy supporters wore "Leaving a Legacy" T-shirts with many of the coach's accomplishments on the back.
Guy-Perkins students were asked this week for a word to describe Hutchcraft. Then, Friday, the students paraded to halfcourt with taxonomy posters, in Guy blue and yellow colors, with the words "Family," "Genuine," "Humble," "Winner," "Gifted," "Legend," "Jokester," "Caring," and "Devoted."
As the tributes flowed, so did the tears.
As he sat in a chair at courtside (as he did most of the night) Hutchcraft wiped his eyes a few times. His male and female players surrounding him on the bench teared up. Fans, even some from St. Joseph, were wiping their eyes. So were friends who traveled from previous coaching stops at Hazen and Grubbs.
This was 42 years in the making.
He was presented a trophy commemorating his final game here. His boys and girls teams gave him an autographed basketball, presented to him by a senior player, Wyatt Spires, who is his grandson.
Hutchcraft's reaction was short and sweet, "I wouldn't be here without the support of the community," he said.
In the games, St. Joseph's junior and senior girls won; Guy's senior boys were victorious.
"The thing about this is it's not my last game," Hutchcraft said later, referring to upcoming district, regional and state tourneys. "I hope to have several more."