Profiles of Parkland: Chuck Clutts
Coach Chuck Clutts began his 17th season at the helm of Cobra softball with the start of the fall semester. Having compiled an overall record 671 wins, 265 losses, and two ties, Clutts enjoys an impressive .715 winning percentage.
To hear him tell it, however, past success isn’t what matters, but rather the here and now.
“We never compare past teams with this year’s team,” he said. “We say that if you have to talk about what you did yesterday, then you have not done anything today.”
That said, under Clutts’s leadership, Parkland has won seven conference and eight regional titles. Yet every season starts anew come late August.
“Fall ball. I love it,” he said. “We’ve got 8-10 freshmen coming to Parkland and learning how we do things and what college ball is all about.”
Each season, Clutts counts on his returning team members to help orient the new players.
“Most freshmen are very nervous at practice and games, but get comfortable quickly,” he said. “The sophomores help them tremendously to adjusting to the academic and softball part of college.”
While the new players officially become Cobras each fall, their recruitment begins long before they set foot on campus.
“It used to be we would recruit kids starting their junior year in high school,” he said. “Now we are looking at them in their freshman years.”
Though the recruitment process can be intense, Clutts says it is one of the things about his position that he enjoys most.
“We will find a student/athlete that we believe will be a good fit for Parkland and start talking to them and [watch] them play softball at the high school level,” he said. “Once we feel they are what we are looking for, we invite them to Parkland for a campus visit with their parents. At the visit we make an offer and give them a deadline to make a decision.”
While the fall and spring semesters are technically two parts of the same season, Clutts sees them as independently unique.
“Spring semester is just fine tuning what everyone has learned in fall ball, making adjustments and refining everyone’s skills and getting ready for a hectic spring schedule,” he said. “As we tell the freshmen the spring semester you are still academically a freshman, but we classify you as sophomore on the softball field due to all the practices and college games you have played.”
Although Clutts always puts 100 percent of his focus on the current season, he admittedly does hold some fond memories of his tenure, including the first game he coached at the college level and the multiple Cobra appearances at national championships.
As for his greatest rewards, Clutts says that there are two: “Being able to coach at the great institution of Parkland College [and] getting to know all the ladies that have come through Parkland College as student-athletes and seeing their success upon leaving.”