Cutchins reaches the 100-win milestone
Published 5:45 pm Friday, February 24, 2023
A season of outstanding success for Franklin High School’s varsity boys basketball team has also included a significant milestone for its leader.
Robby Cutchins reached his 100th win as head coach of the Broncos with their 73-40 home victory over Sussex Central High School on Jan. 11.
FHS Principal Travis Felts conveyed his congratulations to Cutchins and helped spread the word about his achievement, praising him for what he brings to the school system and the community at large.
“Robby does so much more than coach our boys basketball team,” Felts said. “He supports our students, school and community with his time, talents and resources. Coach Cutchins goes above and beyond the call of duty and truly has our students’ best interests at heart.”
Felts noted that Cutchins would never publicize his 100-win achievement unprompted.
“He deserves much recognition but honestly does not coach for those reasons,” Felts said.
Cutchins, when asked about the milestone by The Tidewater News, said someone brought it to his attention shortly before it was reached.
“It’s ironic because somebody actually asked me that morning of that (Jan. 11) game,” he recalled. “They said, ‘You’ve got to be right there at (100 wins).’ I said, ‘I’m not really sure.’ And then actually the next day is when we found out that it took place the night before, but the timing was really cool.”
Though he’s not coaching for individual accolades, Cutchins expressed gratitude for the support.
“It’s really cool to be recognized, obviously, by your peers and other people,” he said. “It’s been very humbling, to say the least, with all the recognition that everybody’s given.”
HISTORY WITH THE PROGRAM
Cutchins is in his 20th year with the Franklin High School boys basketball program, having served in different roles during that time span. The 2022-23 season is his ninth as head coach of the varsity team, and prior to that he worked under Danny Dillon, who led the FHS program for years and now leads the Rock Church School boys basketball program.
“Coach Cutchins and I coached together for 10 years at FHS,” Dillon said. “He was my head assistant for varsity and also head coach of the (junior varsity) program from 2004-14. He ran a first class, dominant JV team year after year.”
Cutchins played a key role in helping Dillon’s varsity squad be so consistently successful both by how he contributed as an assistant and by how he ran the JV team.
As Cutchins served in his varsity assistant coach role, “I trusted him to make substitutions and give insight at every corner,” Dillon said. “He took it to another level than most JV coaches do in that whatever I was running on varsity he would implement it in JV. This way the younger kids knew the system when they got to varsity, and because of that, through those years, FHS won five district championships, one regional championship and had two state appearances.”
WHY CUTCHINS COACHES
Dillon said Cutchins coaches for all the right reasons.
“He loves his kids and knows that many of them need what he has — character, integrity, wisdom and passion,” Dillon said.
Cutchins said, “First and foremost I’m in this to try to see these young men become better young men, if you will. The basketball piece kind of goes along with the game of life that I talk about every day.”
WHAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE 100 WINS
Cutchins deflected credit for orchestrating a successful program by highlighting the other people involved.
“(I’m) fortunate to be able to work with a great group of kids year in and year out,” he said. “I’ve been involved in this city and this community pretty much my whole life, and we’ve got great people that we work with at the high school and the school system, our administration, Mr. Felts, he’s phenomenal for (first) giving (Danny and I) the opportunity back in the day.
“Having guys that coach alongside with me now who have actually come through the program, who have actually played for me back in the day at the JV level and/or the varsity level over the last decade has been very humbling to me,” Cutchins continued. “And in return, that shows kids that, hey, these guys have been through this program and now they’re back coaching us — that instills the family culture that we want. And culture’s a big thing that you have to set. If you’ve got a good culture, probably things are going to happen.”
When asked, Cutchins later shared what he believes he contributes to the Franklin boys basketball program, affirming that instilling discipline in young men to block out distractions and wisely manage their time is key.
“People that see these young men just on the floor in the 32 minutes of basketball that they play is only a small piece of the pie, if you will,” he said. “There’s so much more that goes into it behind the scenes, but first and foremost is making young men believe in themselves.”
He said, “Instilling that confidence and being a father figure to these young men that I’ve tried to be over the years gives them that sense of comfort that they can do and accomplish anything that they want to do, which, in return, carries over (onto) the basketball court.”
He highlighted — as a prime example of this — the 2022-23 varsity Broncos, who have won the Tri-Rivers District regular season and tournament championships and are entering the Region 1B tournament with a 23-2 overall record and the No. 1 seed.
“It’s a talented group of young men, but the fact that they believe in one another and believe in a culture that we have at Franklin High School has given them the opportunity to reach the next level of success.”
Dillon said he is remarkably excited to see Cutchins and the Broncos having “one of the greatest seasons FHS has ever had.”
“He deserves it because of the thousands of hours he spent in that gym over the last 20 years,” Dillon said, referring to the Peggy H. Wilkins Gymnasium at FHS. “They truly have a chance to bring home the first state championship ever. And I can promise you that if by some chance they fall a little short, it won’t be due to coaching.”
Dillon, who is lead pastor at Rock Church in Franklin, thanked Cutchins for sitting by his side for 10 years and also for allowing him to be a part of the past 10 years as the Broncos’ chaplain.
“He allows me to love on the kids and pray with them before and after games/practices,” Dillon said. “He knew one day I wanted to come and coach my sons at Rock Church School. He was offered several head coaching jobs during that 10-year span. One of them was at our rival, Southampton High School, but he turned all of them down.
“Why did he do that?” Dillon asked rhetorically. “Because he wanted to honor me, he loves FHS, he loves our community, and he wants to do whatever it takes to make us — and the next generation — better. The bottom line is that God blessed both of us, I am able to coach my sons, and he is able to be a dad to so many kids that need father figures.”