Ron McNutt was driving through Washoe Valley Wednesday morning when he decided to retire — for the second time — from the game he’s devoted his entire life to.
McNutt, who served as Carson High’s head baseball coach for 29 seasons and won two state titles, stepped down from his Galena job after six seasons. He informed his team in a closed-door meeting after Wednesday’s 8-7 win over Carson.
After winning 655 games and losing 227 at Carson, McNutt posted a 126-71 record at Galena, including one trip to the state tournament.
In case your math is off, that’s 781 wins. It’s why McNutt is a legend in the coaching profession.
“I was on my way to school to pass out uniforms for the junior-senior all-star game this weekend,” McNutt said. “I pulled off the road and called my wife. Terrie. I told her it was time. I turned around and came home, and she helped me draft my letter of resignation. I sat down with the school administration. I told them I wanted to finish what I started, and would like to coach the team through the summer. They gave me their blessing.
“I’ve been doing this for 40-plus years. It’s time to hang it up. I have a lot of fond memories from Carson and Galena. I love the kids here and I love coaching. This is a young team we have at Galena, and it could be pretty good in a couple of years. We’ve made a lot of improvements to the facility (in recent years).”
Carson always had the best playing surface during McNutt’s tenure, and he worked just as tirelessly on his field at Galena. Of course, it’s his work ethic and dedication that probably finally wore him down. It’s those same traits that earned him respect from former players and opposing coaches alike.
“I have the utmost respect for Ron and what he has done over the years,” said Reno coach Pete Savage. “Anybody who has coached that long and produced great teams and great players I have respect for. I took over as head coach at Reno in 1995, and we’ve had some great battles. He has done a great job of building programs,”
Former players Matt Morgan and Bryan Manoukian had nothing but praise for their former coach. Morgan was a four-year player at CHS and also played on the Capitols under McNutt, while Manoukian’s experience playing for McNutt was on the Capitols.
“I don’t even think you can quantify what coach McNutt has done for baseball in our area,” Manoukian said. “He is the winningest coach in Northern Nevada and the state. His Capitol teams were some of the best years of my life. Those years were a big reason why I had the college career (at Portland State) that I did. It was a honor to be a Capitol player. I feel indebted to him.”
What did Manoukian take away from his years with McNutt?
“It wasn’t so much the coaching, but his management of a program,” the current CHS coach said. “He was the ultimate manager. He would surround himself with really good assistants and let them coach. It’s what I’ve tried to do here at Carson.”
Morgan was a four-year player at CHS for McNutt, and he was also a member of the Capitols.
“A class act,” Morgan said. “He runs a great program wherever he is. I would play for that guy anywhere. If you know what you’re doing, he let’s you play the game the style you want.”
Former Carson coach Steve Cook, who took over when McNutt left and has helped coach at Galena the last few years, said after Wednesday’s game he’s not interested in the Galena job.
“Coach certainly didn’t lack for putting quality talent on the field,” Cook said. “If he ever coaches again, I’d go with him in a second.”