Coach of the Year:
Monticello’s Jeff Butler
In his farewell season as coach (Butler is retiring as a teacher on Dec. 21), guided the Sages to a second-place finish at state in Class 1A, behind Okaw Valley Conference rival Decatur St. Teresa. It was the highest finish ever for the girls’ program and the second straight year in the top three.
Season highlight: “Obviously, the main highlight of our season was getting to experience the feeling of standing on the stage at Detweiller with a group of young athletes who had put in a lot of time and effort to get there. That feeling is priceless. On a more personal note, it was a real highlight to be able to share these moments with my wife Mary, Mrs. Coach. She had a huge impact on our success. She treats every athlete like they are her own. If they need scolding, she would scold them. If they need to be redirected, she would redirect them. If they need to hear the truth, she would tell them. If they need a pat on the back and words of encouragement, she would offer that. She has a unique understanding of what each individual needs in order to maximize their potential.”
A few of my favorite things: Country Western ... Andy Griffith Show ... Larry Bird: Drive, The Story of My Life ... Chicken and noodles; mashed potatoes and gravy ... Bob Evans ... Eastern Illinois University ... Body ‘N Sole ... GMC Truck ... Walking beans and detassling corn ... On my bucket list, to see a meet at Haywood Field in Eugene, Ore., to go to a Final Four in basketball and to attend the Drake Relays.
About Coach Butler: “Coach Butler is not just a coach. He inspires the people around him with words along with his own actions. Even when we are not in season or at practice, he is looking out for us and teaching us to be respectable young adults. The one thing that will stick with me longer than anything he has said is, “It’s not how fast you ran or what place you got that people will remember the longest. It is how you behaved.” I’d also like to emphasize the role Mrs. Coach has played in the program. She is a tremendous help with the team and I whole-heartedly believe that without her stability and help, Coach would not have had the ability to train us as well as he has.” — Monticello junior Emily Foley