Current and former McCutcheon High School softball players, friends and family gathered around home plate for a ceremony to name the varsity field after former head coach Jim Bates. The field was dedicated to Bates April 12 prior to the first pitch of the Maverick’s game against the Harrison Raiders.
Bates started his career in the TSC as a math teacher at Harrison High School in 1973. In 1980, he moved to McCutcheon High School to teach and in 1986 started the softball program. Bates retired in 2014 after coaching for 29 years. He was inducted into the Indiana Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2008.
McCutcheon Principal Gloria Grigsby says Bates put the Mavericks softball program on the Indiana map. During his tenure, Bates won 572 games, one state championship (2008), one state runner-up (2005), 11 sectional championships and seven regional championships. He has coached one Indiana Miss Softball (Tori Collins), two state mental attitude award winners (Heather Han 2005 and Eliza Scanlon 2007), 26 Indiana All-Stars, 14 Academic All-State players and 38 MHS softball players who continued their careers in college.
“Coach Bates’ dedication and passion for teaching the game of softball provided hundreds of student athletes opportunities for growth and development playing a game that they loved,” says Grigsby.
Bates says he is very honored and humbled by the recognition. “It illustrates the tremendous success that all of you have worked hard to develop the McCutcheon softball program into what it is today,” says Bates. “I remember the fall of 1985 when Mr. Jacob Burton hired me and brought me out to this large grass field and said, ‘This is where we’re going to build the softball field.’ I will forever be grateful to Mr. Burton for giving me this opportunity and working with me through the early years. I was extremely excited and made it a huge part of my life for the next 29 years. Those 29 years of the relationships that I built with players, coaches, parents, and administrators were more enjoyable than I could have imagined.”