WESTERVILLE — Nick Gutman, a Mount Vernon native and outstanding college basketball player, was inducted into the Otterbein University Athletics Hall of Fame in Westerville on Sept. 14.
Gutman was a member of the class of 1994 at Otterbein University and was a swingman for the varsity basketball team at the university. Gutman says that he felt an early connection with the Otterbein team and felt as if he could make a difference with that group of players even as early on as the open gyms that he played there.
“I visited Otterbein and played a couple of open gyms with the players that were currently there, which included my brother who was also on the team,” said Gutman. “He graduated from Mount Vernon one year ahead of me and went to Otterbein. I developed a nice camaraderie with the current players and felt that we had the ability to win.”
Gutman was a two-time NABC All-American athlete who led the Otterbein Cardinals to four straight conference championships. He also led his team to four straight NCAA appearances.
Gutman had an outstanding freshman year as a student-athlete. He led his team to the Division III Men’s Basketball Final Four. Gutman played in all of the games that season, averaging 10.5 points per game. Gutman also led his team to the Division III Elite Eight as a sophomore and the second round of the Division III tournament as a junior.
Gutman was also a three-time first-team all OAC pick and led the Ohio Athletic Conference in scoring during his junior and senior seasons. Otterbein ultimately went 95-26 during Gutman’s tenure and had a home record of 54-4. Gutman ended up scoring 2,306 career points, which earned him the rank of fourth all-time at Otterbein and sixth all-time in the OAC. He averaged 24.4 points as a senior and finished out his career with OAC Player of the Year honors.
Gutman spoke about how he felt regarding his induction and about how his coaches and teammates viewed him as a person and his character as a student-athlete when he was in college.
“I feel very honored to be elected to the Otterbein Hall of Fame,” said Gutman. “I feel as though I am representing many of my teammates as well as myself. I believe that some of the factors of (Otterbein) inducting me into their Hall of Fame included being a well-rounded student-athlete and representing Otterbein in a positive light. I think that my former teammates and coaches would speak about my reliability and the fact that I lead by example. I would dive for loose balls in practice with the same tenacity needed for a game. I was blessed to play with a number of players that had a positive attitude and the will to win.”
Gutman majored in Business Communications when he was at Otterbein and has put his major to good use as the regional manager of Playworld, a company that surfaces and installs playgrounds across five different states. He resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife of over two decades. He has two children, a daughter, Annika, and a son, Rudy.