When the 2005-2006 school year comes to a close, it will be the end of an era at Carson High.
Ron McNutt has announced his retirement as athletic director at Carson, effective at the end of this school year. The process to replace McNutt has just begun as he turned in his resignation on Monday. "I decided last year that this would be my last year," McNutt said.
McNutt came to CHS at the beginning of the 1970-71 school year and has been involved with the school in various capacities ever since for the past 36 years. He has served as the athletic director for the past five years.
In retirement, McNutt will still stay busy as he will take over for Jim McCollum as the Northern 4A commissioner.
"It's something I'm looking forward to," McNutt said. "It's a challenge. I've got some new ideas."
But McNutt also said he's received plenty of support over the years from his wife, Terrie, and his son, R.C., and now it's his turn to return the favor. McNutt said he's looking forward to supporting his wife in her position as the state's director of cheerleaders.
"Thirty-five years of my life has been at Carson High," McNutt said. "I have no regrets. I've enjoyed every minute of it.
"I've enjoyed the people. Was there ups and downs, you bet. But the kids throughout were always good. The kids tried to learn and wanted discipline. It made my job easier."
McNutt now comes in contact with students at CHS who are children of athletes who played for him at Carson. "It's kind of an eerie feeling," McNutt said.
"Did I plan on staying 35 years? No," McNutt said. "It never entered my mind when I first started."
McNutt came to Carson from Ohio, so it's no surprise that he's a huge Ohio State fan and admirer of the Buckeyes' former football coach, the late Woody Hayes. "I'm a big Buckeye fan," McNutt said. "Hayes is everything to me."
So during his time when McNutt served as Carson's offensive coordinator in football, it would have been understandable if he took a conservative approach like Hayes. But actually there was one year in which McNutt coached in which Carson had a passer who threw for more than 1,000 yards and two runners who rushed for more than 1,000 yards on a team that averaged nearly 400 yards a game.
During his time at Carson, McNutt also coached basketball, track and baseball and there was a time when he coached football, basketball and baseball during the same school year.
But obviously McNutt will be most remembered for his 29 years (1976-2004) as Carson's baseball coach where he built a dynasty that won two state titles (1979, 1992).
He's also made his mark since he took over as athletic director. "You take a job because you hope you can make a difference," McNutt said.
During his time as baseball coach, McNutt oversaw the significant upgrade of the field that now bears his name. As athletic director, he led the effort for a much needed concession stand-restroom facility that will also have dressing rooms for officials that's now under construction.
Another project is the development of eight on-campus tennis courts, which McNutt hopes will be completed by next fall. He also instituted regular parent informational meetings for the fall, winter and spring sports seasons. In addition, he's been involved in the first ever CHS alumni directory.
McNutt has directed an athletic program that consistently ranks near or at the top of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association's Award of Excellence program. The program ranks schools' sports programs for their performance in athletic competition, in academics and in sportsmanship.
Carson was the NIAA 4A's state overall champion in 2002. After the fall and winter sports seasons, CHS ranks fourth this year (1,500 points) behind Reno High (1,570), Palo Verde (1,660) and Galena (1,910).
A major reason why Carson ranks so high is its strong performance in academics. Carson has won more state academic titles than any other school, meaning it has had more teams with the highest cumulative grade point average among all the state's 4A schools in that sport.
"We're very proud of that and it's something that we stress," McNutt said. "I don't think there's any school in the state that can match our school for academic excellence.
"Our athletic program is so misleading to a lot of people. A lot of people look at it as wins and losses and as a coach, you look at it as wins and losses."
But McNutt said he has a more important standard for his athletic program. "You might beat us today but you're going to be working for us tomorrow," he said.