October 20, 2009

Hamline mourns passing of former basketball standout Joe Hutton, Jr.

A 1950 graduate of Hamline, Hutton was inducted into the Hamline University Pipers’ Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972. His late father, Joe Hutton, Sr., and his younger brother, Tom ’62, are also Hamline Hall of Fame members. The family legacy of Hamline graduates includes his sisters Catherine Hutton Gabrielson ’51 and Barbara Keenan ’56.

“The Hutton Family has a distinguished place in the long history of Hamline University, as does Joe Hutton, Jr.,” said President Linda Hanson. “A university could not ask for more from one of its alumni. Joe not only cared deeply about his alma mater, he cared about doing everything he could to make the world a better place. We will miss him and his deep commitment to service to all he touched.”

While at Hamline, Hutton lettered all four years in basketball and baseball and one year in track. In basketball, he was a three-time all-conference team member, and in 1949 he earned All-American honors as Hamline won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championship. 

Hutton was coached by his father during his years at Hamline. Joe Hutton, Sr. was head basketball coach and athletic director from 1930-1965 and is the namesake of Hamline’s basketball arena. At his retirement, Hutton, Sr.'s 591-207 (344-91 conference) record placed him sixth among all college basketball coaches in the country. In thirty-five years, his teams won nineteen conference titles, three NAIA championships, and were three-time NAIA runner-ups.

After leaving Hamline, Hutton, Jr. played on the 1951-52 Minneapolis Lakers championship team. That year, the Lakers defeated the New York Knicks in the NBA finals in seven games. Hutton was one of seven Pipers to play in the NBA. The list includes Jim Fritsche, Hal Haskins, Vern Mikkelsen, John Norlander, Howie Schultz, and Rollie Seltz.

From 1954 to 1962, he taught and coached basketball in the Minneapolis school system, winning conference championships at North High School in 1957 and 1962. After leaving North, he coached and taught at Bloomington-Lincoln High School where his teams won 70% of their games over a ten-year period and finished with a third-place trophy in the 1972 class AA basketball tournament.

Born October 6, 1928, Hutton, Jr. is survived by his wife of 27 years, Millie, his four children and his three step-children: Joe “Chip” Hutton, Jr. (and spouse Patti Hutton), Robert “Bob” Hutton (and spouse Kris Hutton), Elizabeth “Beth” Fitzpatrick (and spouse Terry Fitzpatrick), Leslye Phillips (and spouse Eddie Phillips), Ken Thiede (and spouse Uschi Thiede), Kathleen Call (and spouse Greg Call), and Keith Thiede (and spouse Lindsey Thiede). He is also survived by three siblings and their spouses, Catherine Gabrielson (and spouse Rollie Gabrielson ’50), Barbara Keenan (and spouse Jim Keenan ’55), and Tom Hutton (and spouse Sherryl Hutton), as well as 18 grandchildren.

Services will be held at St. Edward’s Catholic Church located at 9401 Nesbitt Avenue, Bloomington, Minnesota. The viewing is scheduled for Thursday, October 22, from 4-8pm and the funeral is on Friday, October 23, at 11am.

Creative and innovative teaching and learning attract a diverse student body of nearly 4,600 undergraduate and graduate students to Hamline University. Challenged to create and apply knowledge in local and global contexts, Hamline students develop an individual and community ethic of social justice, civic responsibility, and inclusive leadership and service.

Ranked first in Minnesota among comprehensive master’s universities by U.S.News & World Report, Hamline is also Minnesota’s first university, founded in 1854, and among the first co-educational institutions in the nation.