Prep Baseball: Independence head coach Scott Cuthbert named NFHS Coach of the Year for 2021


Independence skipper Scott Cuthbert admitted that he never expected to be a head baseball coach.

However, since taking over in Coal City back in 2013, Cuthbert has made sure that the Patriots were one of the top contenders in Class AA each season.

Saturday afternoon in Charleston he received recognition for his team’s success.

Prior to the Class AAA state tournament semifinal at Appalachian Power Park, Cuthbert was honored by the National Federation Coaches Association at the West Virginia Baseball Coach of the Year for 2021.

“It is definitely a big honor, but when I found out, it surprised me a little bit. I was kind of shocked,” Cuthbert said. “Everybody calls it a Coach of the Year award, but to me, it should be coaching staff. I wouldn’t be here without the assistants I have had and the help I have had over the years.”

“(Mark Cuthbert and Mark Ward), along with Shawn (McKinney) has been a big help recently,” Cuthbert continued. “Before them, I had a previous head coach, Chris Walls, as an assistant who helped me get my feet wet. I also had Coach (Ken) Adkins, our softball coach, that helped me the next year and Mike Horton has been around here too. I have had a lot of help over the years.”

If there ever was a person that was tailor-made to be head coach at Independence, Cuthbert was one of the most likely choices. Cuthbert played and graduated from Independence, but the ties went even deeper.

“I got to watch my dad and (legendary head) Coach (Joe) Goddard growing up. I have been around it since I was maybe five or six years old,” Cuthbert said. “(Independence) is the only school I have ever known too. I’ve done everything here. I did my student teaching here. It is the only school I have every known since I was five years old.”

Cuthbert’s dad, Scotty and Coach Goddard played high school and American Legion baseball together and were longtime coaches at Independence.

Both have naturally been a big influence for Cuthbert over his time as head coach.

“Coach Goddard had a big influence on me, as well as my dad. It has been a special situation the last couple of years,” Cuthbert said. “To have dad here to fall back on for certain things with the experience he has had with it has been a big help. He sometimes sees things differently than others. Sorta like somebody that can play music when they hear it. If he sees something he will try to copy it.”

Not knowing quite what to expect fully when he took over, Cuthbert has been pleased with the success his teams have experienced.

“To be honest, I think we have exceeded what I thought we might be able to do. I knew we would be really good the first couple of years,” Cuthbert said. “I was probably the most satisfied the next year. We lost seven starters and made it to the regional final. We have been able to keep it going for a while.”

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