‘Hutch’ was News-Sentinel’s Colts writer before long tenure as IU reporter

Sportswriter Terry Hutchens, who died last week, covered the Indianapolis Colts full time for The News-Sentinel for two seasons. He was involved in an auto accident in Fishers Dec. 17 that left him in critical condition until his death at age 60 at an Indianapolis hospital Friday.

When the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984, The News-Sentinel jumped on the opportunity by hiring a reporter to cover the team full time, and establishing an Indianapolis bureau that included both a Colts writer and another reporter to cover the Statehouse. The News-Sentinel became the only newspaper outside Indianapolis to have a full-time sportswriter based there.

Michael Kahn was the first Colts reporter for The News-Sentinel (1984-1986), followed by Len Pasquarelli (1986-1989) and Hutchens (August 1989-October 1991). Hutchens was the last News-Sentinel writer to cover the Colts full time from the Indianapolis bureau while living in the capital city.

In his role with The News-Sentinel, he would often report on the Indiana Pacers and other sports news and events in Indianapolis as well.

Long-time sportswriter Reggie Hayes took over coverage of the Colts for The News-Sentinel in the years after Hutchens left, while living in the Fort Wayne area and continuing to report on high school and college sports as well.

An Oregon native, Hutchens played high school basketball in Yorba Linda, Calif., and studied journalism at California State University, Fullerton. He came to Indiana when he was 28 in 1986, and graduated from Indiana University’s School of Journalism in May 1989.

When Hutchens joined The News-Sentinel, it was his first full-time sportswriting job after having written part-time for the Indianapolis News.

He went back to the News in 1991 full time, taking over the Colts beat. Seven years later he became the IndyStar’s Indiana University beat writer, covering basketball and football. When he left the Star in 2013, he went to work for Scout.com, then became the IU beat writer for CNHI Sports Indiana at the Anderson Herald-Bulletin and was syndicated in 13 Indiana newspapers. Through the years he also authored 11 books, 10 of them about IU sports.

“Hutch,” as he was known by those closest to him, won the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Indiana Sports Writer of the Year Award five times.

Another former News-Sentinel sportswriter, Pete DiPrimio of IUHoosiers.com, is one of many who have written tributes to Hutchens since his death.

“You were never a stranger long around Hutch,” DiPrimio writes. “He was forever introducing himself, offering handshakes, opinions, help and, inevitably, jokes or wisecracks. He was always willing to share — a ride, a word, a kind gesture, a good-natured ribbing.”

Hutchens is survived by his wife, Susan, his mother, Dena, sister Kelly and sons Bryan and Kevin.

Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Holy Spirit Parish at Geist Catholic Church in Fishers.

Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Thursday at the church.

IU sports officials say Hutchens’ seat on press row and in the media room at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall will remain open the rest of the season in his honor.