Photo by Michael Buckelew
COVINGTON -- Georgia Perimeter College softball coach Ed Schutte admits he doesn't really recall the details of his first victory as a college softball coach.
"All I remember is that we were based in Dunwoody at the time," said Schutte, who has coached the Jaguars for the last decade. "I don't even remember who we were playing, although I think we were on the road. I do remember that it wasn't anything special."
No one could blame the Virginia native for his lack of memory about that first win because there have been so many more to come. On April 1, GPC defeated East Georgia College 8-0 in the first game of a doubleheader for Schutte's 299th win, and then the Jaguars squashed the Bobcats 13-0 in the second game to give the veteran coach his 300th career victory.
Schutte, whose Jaguars (27-10, 16-2 in GCAA) square off against Darton on Thursday in a critical doubleheader that will decide the region championship, attributes his coaching success to a number of factors, including longevity.
"I'm getting kind of old," he quipped. "To be honest, (300) came kind of suddenly. It seemed like we got 200 only yesterday and we got to 100 pretty quickly, too. Our last two teams have really had a lot of wins, and we went to the national championships last year. That's enabled us to play a lot more games and get a lot more wins.
"It's been a great ride, especially over the last five years. We've had some tremendous players and most of them have gone on to play Division I softball after us. If you've got the horses, it's easy to get wins."
The Jaguars, who moved from Dunwoody to Covington four years ago, have played in the national tournament twice (2007, 2010) and have won the GCAA championship four times (2003, 2006, 2008, 2009). Schutte's last six GPC teams have averaged 34 wins a season and he has been honored as the conference's Coach of the Year in 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Not only is Schutte a superior coach, but he's also an excellent teacher. In addition to his duties at GPC, Schutte is also an instructor at Winward Baseball Academy in Alpharetta, a situation that he said enables him to see a lot of potential GPC recruits.
"Denny Pritchett and Howie McCann owned a facility and they knew about me and needed a softball instructor," Schutte said, noting that McCann is the father of Atlanta Braves All-Star Brian McCann. "They gave me an opportunity to move here, and I've been with Howie now for almost 20 years. I coach Georgia Perimeter College by day and at night I go instruct with Howie."
"I get to see all the better players. That helps a whole lot. I've probably sent 150-200 girls I've instructed to the Division I level."
A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., Schutte played baseball and basketball at Columbian College (Washington, D.C.) and Randolph-Macon (in Ashland, Va.) before enrolling at VCU. He played competitive fast-pitch softball before become an instructor and was an assistant coach at Duluth High School when he received the call from GPC.
"I was at Duluth when I got a call one day from Bonnie Young, who was coaching the slow-pitch team at Georgia Perimeter," he said. "She told me she didn't know anything about fast-pitch and asked if I was interested in coaching with her for a few years and then taking the program over.
"I could see the handwriting on the wall because (GPC) had such a good recruiting base. I tried it and I liked it and I told her I'd take the position. And I've been here ever since."
Schutte has had chances to move to a Division I program, but he said he prefers his current situation.
"I had an opportunity several years ago to go to a Division I school, the name of which I won't mention," he said. "At the time, the salaries weren't as good as they are today and I was doing better financially with my two jobs. I talked with my wife and the issue was do we want to make the sacrifices and start all over again with a move to a new city? We looked at the situation and decided we were comfortable where we were. And I haven't regretted it one day. I've had a great opportunity at Georgia Perimeter."
A resident of Suwanee, Schutte said he'll probably stay in the dugout a few more seasons and then focus on teaching.
"I plan on coaching a few more years at Georgia Perimeter -- I want to see the team continue to get to a high level," he said. "I'm training a couple of coaches now (assistants Ken Deyton and Alli Converse) that could possibly take over one day. And hopefully, I can hang up my shoes but still teach a little longer."