STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mary Nutter, who started the National Sports Clinics (NSC) more than 25 years ago to provide softball coaches at all levels access to the highest quality instruction, died from a heart attack in the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 24, while vacationing in Colorado.
Nutter, who had a successful eight-year career as head coach at Pittsburg State (Kan.) prior to founding NSC, found her true calling in 1980 when she ran her first softball clinic in Kansas City while still coaching at Pittsburg State. In 1984, she moved her clinic to Chicago, and then expanded to three clinics in 1985. In 1987, National Sports Clinics was incorporated, and thousands of coaches have benefitted from her work.
Growing up in Michigan, Nutter was an outstanding player for the Lansing Laurels, an ASA Women’s Major fastpitch team, and she spent one year (1976) as a player/coach for the Michigan Travelers of the Women’s Professional Softball League. Nutter was twice named Women’s Major first team All-American (1974 and 1975).
“Mary was the nicest, sweetest human being that I’ve ever been around and was a proud Spartan,” Michigan State Head Coach Jacquie Joseph said about Nutter who attended Michigan State. “She gave a lot to the game but gave even more to the human race. It’s a profound loss.”
After going to school at Michigan State, Nutter began teaching in 1970 in Elsie, Michigan. She taught there until 1977 when she began her collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan State. She spent three seasons there before moving to Pittsburg State.
In 1981, she claimed her first of three NAIA District 10 championships and District 10 Coach of the Year awards. She was named District 10 Coach of the Year in 1981, 1982 and 1985. Her 1981 Pittsburg team finished fourth at the NAIA national championship, and overall, Nutter had a 204-125 record at the institution.
She also served as an assistant coach for the 1983 Pan American Tri-Nations team and as a member of the 1984 U.S. Pan American selection committee. She was honored in 1988 as an inductee of the NAIA Hall of Fame, and inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 1997.
Besides running the National Sports Clinics, Nutter loved to cook and started a catering business with a friend about five years ago. To read more about Nutter in a question and answer feature written in 2009, click here.