Guy-Perkins High School honors coaching legend John Hutchcraft

By Stefanie Brazile

Hundreds of people swarmed the Guy-Perkins High School Thunderbirds’ gym on Oct. 14 to recognize a man who served the district for 40 years and won more basketball games than any other high school coach in Arkansas.

Dr. Joe Fisher, Superintendent of Guy-Perkins School District (from left); Jim Baker, Faulkner County County Judge; Charlotte Sober, a daughter of John Hutchcraft; Coach John Hutchcraft, honoree, and Shara Brazear, his girlfriend; Ashley Hutchcraft, a daughter of Hutchcraft and coach of the Conway High School Lady Cats Basketball Team; Jason McGinty, a son of John Hutchcraft; and Victor Rimmer, former player and coach of the Fayetteville High School Girls Basketball team.

Coach John Hutchcraft is a small-town Arkansas success story turned legend. “Coaching kids is the greatest honor and blessing in my life,” Hutchcraft said. “I have always been honored to be a coach.” 

Guy-Perkins School District Superintendent Dr. Joe Fisher and the Board of Education organized a dedication ceremony to recognize Hutchcraft by naming the new basketball court for him. He retired in 2018, and now his influence is visible on numerous banners on the walls of the gym and on the new basketball court, which features his signature on each side.

In addition to the recognition from the school district, Faulkner County Judge Jim Baker declared Oct. 14, 2022, to be Coach John H. Hutchcraft Day. The Guy Police Chief honored him as well, and then former student Victor Rimmer presented the Arkansas Diamond Award–the highest-ranking award the state gives to a private citizen–on behalf of Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston.

Coach Hutchcraft’s story began in the small town of St. Charles (Arkansas County.) He hitchhiked to the University of Central Arkansas, which he attended on a basketball scholarship. He still holds three career records at UCA, for 1,162 rebounds and 962 defensive rebounds and for a defensive rebound average of 8.8. “Hutchcraft has invested 50 years of his life in basketball and made countless investments in the lives of his players, their families and his community,” said Shara Brazear, his girlfriend.

His career coaching record is 2,103 wins to only 617 losses over 42 seasons. At 70 years old, Coach Hutchcraft, who is 6-foot-8 and continues to play on the Arkansas Travelers basketball team around the U.S., and with the USA Global basketball team internationally. He and Shara recently visited Spain and Finland with the USA Global team and St. George, Utah for the Huntsman World Senior games.

During his speech, Hutchcraft said, “I hope that basketball is in heaven, and I hope I go there too.” His daughter, Ashley, thanked him for the hours he has poured into so many lives, finishing her speech with ‘You’ll always be our coach.’”

The gym features banner after banner displaying these accomplishments:

Won 11 state high school basketball state championships (boys and girls).

• Won 10 runner-up high school basketball state championships. 

• 2018 Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Inductee.

• 2018 National Basketball Hall of Fame (Naismith) Award.

• 2015 McDonald’s All-American Games Coach (girls).