Sutor spent a couple years assisting Matt Hahn with the varsity team, and could’ve continued doing that when Brad Wendell was promoted from the sophomore job. But he elected to replaced Wendell instead.
“Derek does especially well with cultivating a positive team culture,” Wendell said. “His passion and example are inspiring to players and students alike. I am blessed to have him on the baseball staff. He makes us all better.”
Like his special education students, who strive to learn despite the wide range of mental, emotional and physical disabilities that can get in the way, Sutor has faced adversity himself with a lifelong stutter.
“I’ve been a stutterer since I was born and I’ve had to overcome all the ups and downs of a stutterer,” he said. “In my speech, I said, if you told me in high school that I’d be standing up here being honored for a profession that I have to speak everyday, I’d say that you’re crazy. But life has a strange way of turning out, and I’m where I’m at because of the help I’ve gotten from educators, friends, teammates and coaches. They’ve all had some impact on me and I’m able to give back in the same passion.”
His assistant coach is his dad, Doug Sutor, an IHSBCA Hall of Famer who won over 500 games at Sandburg High School in Orland Park and won a state title in 2002. Seriously, how fortunate are Geneva sophomore baseball players to have him in the dugout?
“Last year around Christmas I just threw it out there to see how’d he respond to it and he said he was in,” Derek Sutor said. “I mean, growing up, I dreamed of coaching under him and to have it switched up and to be the head coach and to have him under me. It’s actually a dream come true. I get to spend my time on the field with him.”
Just like some lucky Geneva kids get to do on the ball diamond and in the classroom with the 2019 High School Teacher of The Year.