A lot has been said by fans over the years about the job done by now-former Minnesota State coach Troy Jutting.
Some have been supportive. Some have been critical. Some have been ridiculously critical. Ask Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press. Moderating his live blog on game nights has become a bigger and bigger chore for him over the years.
Calling for a coach’s job is nothing new. Since the advent of talk radio and message boards on the internet, it’s become almost customary. Heck, as a sophomore at Minnesota State, I once wrote an editorial calling for Jutting’s job. I even named guys I would replace him with.
A couple of months later, I was handed the men’s hockey beat.
Talk about awkward. The guy I wrote a scathing story about, calling for his job, was now a guy I was going to have to cover on a daily basis. To his credit, he never held it against me. He gave me his cell phone number, said I could give him a call anytime. He gave me incredible access to his team, when he didn’t have to. He allowed an aspiring journalist — someone who had always wanted to cover football — to fall in love with covering hockey.
Anyone that has covered the Mavericks and the WCHA for any amount of time has their favorite Jutting stories. For those that don’t know him on that level, trust me when I say, there is only one Troy Jutting. I seriously hope Shane writes the book someday. We’ve spent countless hours on the road, going to Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Bemidji… re-hashing old Jutts stories. They never get old.
Talk to Jutting about MSU sometime and you can feel his genuine passion for the school he has dedicated more than a quarter of a century to building. After the women’s golf coach resigned midseason back in 2006, Jutting volunteered to take over. He had never coached women. He had never coached golf. But the school was in a tough spot, and he answered the call. “I can’t judge their golf swings. But I can judge desire and competitiveness,” he said at the time. I have friends that played on the team and they adore Troy for doing what he did.
He’s had plenty of success at MSU at the rink too. Not many coaches have won a pair of WCHA Coach of the Year awards, but Jutting has. But in the end, the losing became too much. Injuries ravaged Mavericks early-on this year and it set them back from the very beginning. Despite a very respectable second half, MSU had dug too deep of a hole, finishing in 11th place for the second straight season.
Jutting’s legacy at MSU is a good one. He is one of the best players to ever wear purple and gold. He was an assistant under Don Brose for a decade, taking over a young WCHA program in its infancy and bringing it to a Final Five and an NCAA Tournament. But it’s been almost 10 years since it happened, and some think perhaps Jutting has brought this team as far as he can.
Certainly, the next coach will have a great opportunity to pick up where he left off. MSU’s best players will be sophomores next season. They have a rock-solid freshman group on its way in. If everyone sticks around, the Mavs have some solid upperclassmen sprinkled in too.
Whomever takes over will have success and will get a lot of credit. Hopefully Troy Jutting gets his share too.