Freed-Hardeman University Honors McCutchen’s Service, Announces Estes as Next Leader for Intercollegiate Athletics

McCutchen will retire at the end of the semester and Lions baseball coach Estes will be his successor. The university will begin the search for a new baseball coach at the end of the season.

HENDERSON, Tenn., February 22, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Leadership changes are coming for Freed–Hardeman University intercollegiate sports program. Longtime FHU Sports Director Mike McCutchen announced his intention to retire at the end of the current school year. Baseball Lion Coach Jonathan Estes was named his successor, according to the president of the FHU David R. Shannon.

FHU will initiate the search for a new baseball coach at the end of this year’s season. McCutchen graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education in 1977. He joined the FHU athletics staff in 1986, when he was an assistant men’s basketball coach under Lion Basketball Coach. Charlie Smith. He followed Smith as head coach in 1988. During his tenure as basketball coach, the team made its first-ever appearance in the NAIA National Tournament in 1998. He became athletic director in 2007.

“It has been a blessing to be part of Freed Hardeman – first as a student and later as a coach and athletic director,” McCutchen said. “I am grateful for the opportunities I have had and look forward to seeing FHU Athletics thrive in the years to come.”

“My words are not enough to adequately express my gratitude to Mike McCutchen for the 35 years he has served Freed Hardeman. He acquired and equipped great coaches,” Shannon said. “Under his leadership, student-athletes were nurtured, the level of play was competitive, and character and faith were priorities. As sporting director, he led a strong program for which we are very grateful to him. We will miss him.”

Estes pitched three years, 2000-2002, for the Lions, earning all-conference honors each season and NAIA Scholar-Athlete his junior and senior years. He still holds career records for ERA (2.72) and complete games pitched (25). He spent three seasons in professional baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Estes returned to FHU in 2009 as head baseball coach. He led the Lions to three conference titles and two regular season titles. Its teams made national tournament appearances in 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2021. The 2018 team finished second in the NAIA World Series.

Estes added the assistant athletic director to his duties in 2018. He led fundraising to renovate the baseball field, including the installation of artificial turf this year. Estes was instrumental in bringing Round 1 of the NAIA World Series to Henderson in 2019.

Jonathan Estes is an example of what Christian coaches strive to become. He led his teams to compete for national championships, while always encouraging them to walk with the Lord,” Shannon said. “As AD Assistant, he managed team scholarship discount rates and shared other executive duties. I have full confidence in his competence, integrity and vision. He has one recurring trait that will serve Lion athletics well: success.”

“What a privilege and honor I have been given to serve the university, coaches, staff and student-athletes in this way!” said Estes. “I appreciate President Shannon’s confidence in allowing me to lead our sports program into the next chapter. I am grateful for by Mike McCutchen mentorship, and I appreciate the great ambassador for FHU that he has been for many years. The opportunity to work with outstanding student-athletes, coaches, and staff in the pursuit of excellence is special, and I look forward to building on the successes God has bestowed on FHU Athletics in the past. “

FHU is a member of the NAIA and participates in the Mid-South Conference. The university features men’s and women’s basketball, football, golf, cross country, and tennis teams, as well as women’s softball and volleyball teams and a men’s baseball team.

The mission of Freed–Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by giving them an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship, and service. With locations in Henderson, Memphis and dickson, FHU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, honors, and doctoral degrees. More information is available at

Media Contact

Dawn Bramblett, Freed–Hardeman University731-608-7650,

THE SOURCE Freed–Hardeman University

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