“After 25 years, this is the last Kaiser game I am going to announce. It has been the joy of my life. Thank you so much, I will forever bleed the blue and gold for Kaiser. Have a good night and God bless.”
And with that, Jimmy Hutcherson stepped away from the microphone high above Kaiser Stadium for the final time after a quarter-century on Friday night.
Known as “Hutch” to the countless number of kids he has worked with as a counselor for 28 years at the school, the man whose voice you could hear down the road all the way toward Koko Marina on certain game nights is heading back to Texas, where he grew up in a small city called Winnsboro — population 3,500 — to take care of his 95-year-old mother and 98-year old father.
“My sisters are doing yeoman’s work and I am over here enjoying myself,” Hutcherson said. “I need to go back. The guilt is finally getting to me.”
“Hutch” also worked at Hawaii Baptist Academy and did wedding vow renewals at the Moana Surfrider hotel for five years, but said calling high school football games at Kaiser was his favorite job.
Growing up in a small town in Texas (there were 74 kids in his high school graduating class), high school football in the Fall brought the entire community together every week.
When he came to Hawaii and was given the opportunity to call games at Kaiser, he knew immediately he wanted to bring some of that Texas swagger with him.
The voice with the Southern drawl brought more of a play-by-play style, describing each play as it happened instead of just yelling out the down and distance when it was over.
“Where I come from, a football game in a small town is like a big event. So the announcer is usually funny. He gets everybody’s attention and that’s kind of how I was raised,” Hutcherson said. ” ‘Whoo, boy, that was a good hoss. His Mama gonna be proud of him tomorrow’ you know what I mean. That kind of thing.”
“He’s a victim of his own self-tackleization,” when a player would trip and fall to the ground, or “hot potato, hot potato, whose got the hot potato?” on a fumble were just some of the well-known terms that came to be expected at a Kaiser home game.
After one false-start in Friday’s game between the Cougars and Pac-Five, Hutcherson’s voice rang out, “No. 99 got caught trying to get a headstart there.”
“Tonight I’m going to let loose,” Hutcherson said before the game. “I’m going to enjoy myself and I want everybody else to enjoy themselves too.”
That really was all “Hutch” was about. Whether counseling and mentoring kids or just bringing a football game to life, he is all about making sure the people around him enjoy themselves.
Kaiser football coach Tim Seaman, who has taught at the school for decades, said it won’t be the same without him.
“Mr. Hutch has been a fixture of Kaiser football for a long time and we’re going to miss him,” Seaman said. “He’s an entertainer. We just enjoy listening to him and the kids are going to miss him and he’s a big part of our community.”
“Hutch” has seen a lot over the years. He described a fourth-and-72 play where a kid ran for 71 years but was tackled short of the marker.
“The guy makes a 71-yard run and did not make a first down. How many times are you going to see a guy make a 71-yard run and not get a first down?” Hutcherson said.
But the game that came to mind first when asked what stands out the most was in 2014, when the Cougars beat Kahuku 20-19 on a last-second touchdown run.
Kaiser got the ball back trailing 19-13 with two minutes to go and drove 56 yards in the final two minutes — all on running plays. The clock would stop after each first down to move the chains — a rule that was fairly new — and apparently unknown to the Kahuku faithful sitting below the press box.
Kahuku fans started yelling up at the clock operator to run the clock. They started tossing water bottles and soda cups at the front of the pressbox, forcing everyone inside to close the windows. One Kahuku fan stormed up the back steps and started banging on the window and door.
As Kaiser quarterback Kalawaia Judd scored on a 1-yard TD to tie the game with 19 seconds remaining, Hutcherson was on the PA system yelling for security to the press box.
“I kind of overreacted I think,” Hutcherson said laughing. “That one they were throwing all kinds of stuff up at us. It was wild. I’ve seen some crazy stuff, man. But the fact that Kaiser beat Kahuku, man, that was really weird.”
For anyone who got to know “Hutch” or was just a casual fan at a weekend football game in Hawaii Kai, there is one good bit of news.
“Hutch” hopes to be back in the future.
“This is not a permanent move,” he said. “I’ll move over there until my Mom passes away or until such time I’m ready to draw my social security and cash it all in and buy a condo in Kakaako and see if I can get me a job out here calling games.”
That certainly won’t be a problem.
Feel free to share your favorite “Hutch” stories or football play-by-play calls in the comments section below.