Deputy Athletic Director Col. Eric D. Hutchings, VMI ‘77, recently concluded his 16th year at VMI and his ninth year of service in VMI's Athletic Department. Within the Athletic Department, he worked initially as Chief of Staff and has shifted most recently to Deputy Athletic Director. He also spent just over a year as the Institute's head rifle coach, before the hiring of LtCol. Bill Bither in late 2011.
His work in the Athletic Department began in 2007 after transitioning from a lengthy and successful term as VMI's 49th Commandant of Cadets.
During his extended tour as commandant, Hutchings transformed the New Cadet Training Model with an innovative and rigorous training paradigm, based on leadership from the front. Moreover, he codified and documented these procedures in a syllabus, weaving them into a larger mosaic of leadership and character-cultivating experiences, which still influences VMI cadets today.
While Commandant, the VMI Board of Visitors saw fit to honor Hutchings by resolution, and later upon his departure from that position he was decorated with the VMI Meritorious Service Medal. A former VMI athlete, Hutchings lettered in both football and track during his cadetship, starting at defensive tackle on the 1974 Southern Conference Championship football team and serving as co-captain of the 1976 Keydet football team during his first class year.
At his graduation in 1977, Hutchings was designated a distinguished military student and was thereafter commissioned into the U.S. Army as an infantry officer. During his subsequent 23-year tenure in the military, he served overseas tours in Korea, Germany and Italy. Hutchings' career in the Army was defined by his numerous Special Operations assignments, including command of a Special Forces Scuba detachment and four separate tours in Ranger units.
In the Rangers, Hutchings commanded at the platoon, company and battalion level, and in his final tour on active duty, served as Deputy Commander for the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment. He has been awarded the Ranger and Special Forces tabs, as well as the Scuba, Master Parachutist, Military Free Fall, Air Assault, and Expert Infantry badges. Hutchings is a graduate of the Army's Command and General Staff College, the Joint Professional Military Education Program, the School of Advanced Military Studies and holds two advanced degrees.
During the summer of 2000, Hutchings was selected for promotion to full Colonel in the regular Army as well as attendance for schooling at the Air Force War College; he instead declined these advancements to retire and assume duties as the Commandant of Virginia Military Institute.
Col. Hutchings is married to the former Janine T. Thompson of Columbus, Ohio. They have three children: Jennifer, Amanda and Michael. Son, Michael, also attended VMI, where he played football and was a varsity linebacker for the Keydets. Michael graduated with the VMI class of 2010 and is now in the U.S. Army.