Long time Hutch CC Track Coach announces retirement

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (Hutchinson CC release) Pat Becher, the longest tenured of all Hutchinson Community College head coaches, announced his retirement on Monday at the Blue Dragon Weekly News Conference.

Becher, who will coach for the remainder of the 2019 season, will officially retire on June 30, 2019.

“I’ve been a the head track coach for 34 years and it’s has been an honor and a privilege and it’s amazing to last somewhere that long coaching,” Becher said to the media members, Blue Dragon staff members attending as well as his wife, Jan, and daughter, Lynsey in attendance. “This has been such a great place, but I feel it’s the right time.

“It’s going to be hard to leave, but we are also excited and scared about the future. We are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us.”

Becher started at Hutchinson as track coach in 1985 when Gowans Stadium was a cinder track. The direction of the Blue Dragon track and field program from that point was all upward.

Now Gowans has become a state-of-the-art track facility that has played host to six NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field championships and another is scheduled for 2020.

The Blue Dragons in Becher’s time at HutchCC includes:

+ 25 Individual NJCAA National Champions

+ 27 Individual NJCAA Runners-up

+ More than 1,000 NJCAA All-Americans

+ 1 Olympian (Decathlete Steve Fritz in 1996)

Over the last 10 seasons, Becher’s teams have produced 128 individual Academic All-Americans, including two No. 1 Women’s Academic All-America teams of the year (2015, 2018) and three men’s Academic All-America team of the year (2015, 2016, 2018) and five more teams in the top five.

Becher has coached four Region VI championship teams, winning the Region VI men’s title in 1996, 1997, 2012 and 2013.

The 2012 Blue Dragon men’s outdoor team captured both a second-straight Jayhawk West championship and the program’s first Region VI championship since 1996. The 2011 Blue Dragons won the conference for the first time since 1996.

The 2013 Blue Dragons won a third-straight Jayhawk West title, second-straight Region VI championship and finished fourth in the NJCAA Championships at Gowans Stadium.

In 2003, 2007 and 2013, Becher was named Men’s National Track and Field Coach of the year. He has been named Region VI Track Coach of the Year seven times.

Becher has served as President of the NJCAA Track Coaches Association and has served as the group’s vice-president three times. He has been president of the Region VI Coaches Association three times.

In 2014, Becher was inducted into the Quarterback Club Hall of Fame and in 2017, he was inducted into the NJCAA Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

“The program is in great shape. We have amazing facilities,” Becher said. “I feel like it’s in better shape now than when I got it and that’ show I want to leave it for the next guy.”

The veteran Blue Dragon mentor was instrumental in helping Hutchinson Community College land the NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships after the renovation of Gowans Stadium. He has served as a meet director six times with the stadium and meet operations drawing rave reviews every year it has hosted.

Becher received his AA degree from Eastern Oklahoma State Junior College in 1975. He was a NJCAA All-American, Region II Cross Country Champion along with being the outstanding graduate in Liberal Arts. He received his bachelors’ degree from Oklahoma Christian College in 1977 where he was an NAIA All-American and Academic All-American in cross country and track his senior year and graduated with honors.

Becher started teaching and coaching at Watonga, Okla., for two years then on to Ponca City for two years as assistant cross country and track coach. In 1980, he got his first head coaching chance at Moore High School, where he led his boys cross country team to a state runner-up finish in 1983, four conference championships, two regional championships and fourth place at the Oklahoma State Championships in 1984. He also served one year as the President of the Oklahoma State Track Coaches Association. In addition to coaching at Hutchinson, Becher worked at Quivira Scout Ranch for seven summers, five of those as camp director.

A hiring committee will be formed and a nationwide search for the new Blue Dragon head coach will start immediately, according to Blue Dragon Athletic Director Josh Gooch.

“The contributions that coach Pat Becher has made to Hutchinson Community College, Blue Dragon Athletics and the community of Hutchinson are enormous,” Gooch said. “His passion for track and field is second to none. We look forward to building on the great legacy he leaves and wish him well as he starts a new chapter with his retirement.

“He will be missed by Blue Dragon Nation.”