Where Are They Now: Utter helps mold student's lives at his alma mater

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By Paul Gable

For four seasons Joe Utter wowed the crowds as a four-sport athlete at Grant County High School.

A decade after those glory days, Utter is reliving them and helping to mold the lives of today's student-athletes as a coach and teacher at his alma mater.

"I try to use myself as an example that you can leave the county and do well. People from this community can be successful and we have to let the students know that," Utter said, who teaches physical education and health, along with serving as the boys' junior varsity basketball head coach and boys' varsity basketball assistant coach.

From 1994 to 1998, Utter was a member of the football, basketball, track and field and cross-country teams. However, it didn't take long for him to trim his activities down to three sports.

"A lot of people did two sports then, and some did three. I did cross-country and football at the same time, and it got tough playing a football game on Friday nights and running a cross-country meet Saturday mornings. I dropped cross-country," Utter said.

During his senior season, Utter experienced success both on the football field and the track under then coach Mike Crowley.

During the football season, Utter, who played running back, wide receiver and free safety, recorded seven interceptions and helped guide the Braves to their first .500 season in school history.

"I was OK. I was a better defensive player than offensive," Utter said.

When the track season rolled around, Utter again tasted success, claiming region championships in both the 400 and mile relay events, something he considers his greatest moment as a high school athlete.

Upon graduation from GCHS, Utter attended Eastern Kentucky University, where he earned a degree in physical education, while minoring in biology.

After spending three years teaching and coaching at Shelby County, Utter returned to Grant County in the fall of 2005.

"It's been great, and it may have been the best thing I ever did. I love it," Utter said.

As for helping student-athletes both in and out of the classroom, Utter called the experience "fulfilling."

"I try to help the school I went to do well, and I try to get the kids to reach their potential both in and out of the classroom," Utter said.

Where Are They Now? is a series in which former Grant County and Williamstown athletes and coaches revisit their days on the athletic surface as well as where life has taken them.