Change has come to Freed-Hardeman University’s intercollegiate athletic program. Long-time athletic director Mike McCutchen retired at the end of 2021-22 athletic competition. Baseball coach Jonathan Estes has succeeded him, FHU President David R. Shannon announced.
McCutchen was the assistant men’s basketball coach under Lion Head Coach Charlie Smith, whom he succeeded in 1988. During his tenure, the team made its first-ever appearance in the NAIA national tournament in 1998. He became the athletic director in 2007.
“It has been a blessing to be a part of FHU — first as a student and later as coach and athletic director,” McCutchen said. “I’m thankful for the opportunities I have had, and I look forward to seeing FHU athletics thrive in the future.”
“My words fall short in expressing my appreciation to Mike McCutchen for the 35 years he served FHU. He has acquired and equipped tremendous coaches,” Shannon said. “Under his leadership, student-athletes have been nurtured, the level of play has been competitive, and character and faith have been priorities.”
Estes pitched three years for the Lions, 2000-02, earning all-conference honors each season. He holds career records for ERA (2.72) and complete games pitched (25) at FHU. He spent three seasons in professional baseball with the St. Louis Cardinal organization.
Estes became FHU Head Baseball Coach in 2009. His teams made seven national tournament appearances, with the 2018 team finishing as runner-up in the NAIA World Series. He became the assistant athletic director in 2018, where he spearheaded the fundraising to renovate the baseball field, including the installation of artificial turf. He led efforts to bring the NAIA World Series opening round to Henderson in 2019.
“Jonathan is an example of what Christian coaches strive to become. He has led his teams to compete for national championships, while always encouraging them to walk with the Lord,” Shannon said. “I have full confidence in his competence, integrity and vision.”
“What a privilege to serve the university, coaches, staff and student-athletes in this way!” Estes said. “Working with these individuals as we strive for excellence is special. I look forward to building upon the successes God has already granted FHU Athletics.”