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Friday, May 6, 2016

Players, parents gather in support of CHS coach

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Don and Robin Bassett (above, left) speak at Support Coach Butler, an effort to save the job of Cloverdale head football coach John Butler.
(Banner Graphic/GRANT WIEMAN) [Order this photo]
CLOVERDALE -- Although no decision has been finalized, word leaked to parents last weekend that the contract of Cloverdale football coach John Butler would not be renewed for next year.

The popular coach and teacher completed his second football season in October with a loss in the sectional semifinal for the second straight year.

Don and Robin Bassett, parents of a junior player on the football team, organized a gathering on Monday night, Support Coach Butler.

Many of those in attendance were players. They each signed a petition that had been pased around school on Monday.
(Banner Graphic/GRANT WIEMAN)
Butler did not organize the meeting and was not present.

"I put this thing in motion and I'm not going to stop until we succeed," Robin said. "(Coach Butler) has got to be the best things that has happened to Cloverdale in years."

The support group plans to bring a large presence to the Cloverdale School Board meeting on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.

"Coach Butler is not part of this," Don said. "The football family that man has started is here for our coach."

Those in attendance (nearly 80 people total) included 25 current or future Cloverdale football players.

They praised Butler for his ability as a role model, and to teach them not only about football, but about life.

"He's not just trying to better you as a football player, but he's trying to better you as a man," senior Dustin Cummings said.

Junior Cody Stout said Butler's passion helped fuel the team, even while they were struggling to get wins.

"I just think he believes in everybody," Stout said. "He has heart for everybody."

Parents agreed.

Butler has gained the trust of many parents by being open and available to them.

Each post-game speech is on the field, with parents and other community members encouraged to gather around.

This is not new to the community, but the first question Butler always asks to the players is, "Did you have fun?"

The parents at the gathering also said Butler has done a good job keeping the team polite and disciplined.

To some, those things aren't enough.

Butler's teams have a 4-18 record in his two years, and were just 1-10 this season.

As a school, Cloverdale has not had a winning season since finishing 7-3 in 1996.

A Cloverdale School Board member, who wished to remain anonymous, said Butler is a good man and that the decision was not football related.

"I want people to know there are two sides to every story," the board member said.

The board member said Butler's contract is not being renewed because of an unspecified issue related to his "teaching performance," and that Butler and the school's administrators "mutually agreed that something had to be done."

"We're not firing anybody unjustly," the board member said. "We're not firing anybody at all. We're just not renewing his contract."

Butler has been at Cloverdale for two years and is a non-tenured faculty member. All coaches must have their contracts renewed each year.

The coach did not comment on his contract, or the idea that the decision was mutual, but said he is grateful for the community support.

"I've always been in awe of the passion that people in our community have regarding athletics here in Cloverdale," Butler said. "It's one of the things that drew me here."

Butler had interest from other coaching positions at different school when he became the head coach at Cloverdale for the 2011 season.

With word leaking of the possibility of Butler's contract not being renewed, at least one other area coach has said he would welcome Butler as a prominent assistant.

The players had a petition signed by more than 100 Cloverdale High School students (more than one-quarter of the high school enrollment) that want Butler to be retained.

Adding an additional layer, the Cloverdale players in attendance said they would not play at all next year if the head coach is anyone but Butler.

"Basically everyone" has said that, junior Wade Warren said.

If he is indeed not retained, Butler said he hopes the players reconsider that decision.

"Whatever the reason, I would hate to see a kid give up an opportunity to play football because of this type of situation," he said. "To those kids considering not playing because I possibly may not be the head coach, I hope you would reconsider and remember how hard you have worked to get where you are right now.

"Play for yourselves, play for each other, play for your parents, or just play to play. You're the luckiest people on the face of the earth to strap it on and play the greatest game ever invented."

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I don't understand these parents. Where were they when the fball family needed people to pick up trash? Where were their kids during the summer weightlifting? To be a successful program it requires HARD WORK n SACRIFICE! Its unfortunate Coach Butler isn't coming back. But telling or allowing your kids to not play next year is crazy. You're only young once. When we went thru CHS in the early 90's the players had parents that participated in everything. From what I see this is another complacent cycle of kids and their parents... Help is on the way

-- Posted by cloverfromafar on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 9:20 AM

Clover: What help are you referring to?

-- Posted by Right Logic on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 10:33 AM

This issue makes one question the ability of the administration. Sounds like there is some bad blood and dislike and maybe some jealousy. He won as many games as the basketball coach last year. How many football players were academically ineligible? How many dropped out? Lots of questions and no transparency.

-- Posted by Right Logic on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 10:39 AM

@ Cloverfromafar...I'm not sure who you are referring to, but MY son and many others were at weightlifting every day during the summer. And at two a days in 100+ degree heat. These boys work hard at practice. I have watched them. You have no clue how much some of these boys do sacrifice to be at practice every day of the summer. Their jobs, their family life, their social life. And are you talking about trash pickup at the race track? Many parents did do that, and the boys all went one day and worked their tails off. I will agree that more could have volunteered time but there were some communication issues. We do need better communication and fine tuning. We are working on that. We are not perfect but it's a learning process, we will get there. I agree we need more parent participation, but I can guarantee you that the parents that are involved in "Support Coach Butler", are parents that are at every single game, rain or shine, heat or freezing, every banquet, dinner, parent meeting etc. for every sport their child participates in. NO ONE has told their son to stop playing football. But I for one do not make my son play a sport that he doesn't want to play. My son will be a senior next year. If Coach Butler does not return this will be the third time in his 4 years of high school that he will have to learn a new coach's ways, learn a total new game plan. He, along with the other boys, love coach Butler and would be very upset to see him go, but that is not the reason he wouldn't play next year. How can a team be good, if they have to repeatedly change coaches? People want to talk about how terrible Cloverdale Football is, but these boys aren't given a chance to work with the same coach and show how good they truly are. We have some amazing athletes, especially in the group of boys that will be seniors next year. So before you start assuming that you know what is going on here, you should get the facts and get to know the boys on a personal level. One thing that was said, was that our boys don't represent the town of Cloverdale well. When I heard that I KNEW things were being said that weren't true, for the benefit of the school board's decision to not renew coach's contract. This group of kids are the closest, most loving, caring, respectful bunch of kids I have ever met. Anyone that knows them, knows this. They do not get into trouble and not one of them was academically ineligible to play.That says a lot, especially since Cloverdale's baby "the basketball team" can't say the same. John Butler has tried to do something great for this school and the community. It's just too bad the Cloverdale School Corporation doesn't have their students' best interest in mind.

-- Posted by putnammom on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 12:04 AM

As the article said, perhaps it is NOT football related. It is more important for the kids to have a good classroom teacher and there are only so many spots available. Just because someone is nice or well-liked does not mean they are a good teacher or follow all the rules.

I know nothing about this man or this situation, but personnel issues are tricky and all the facts are never known by the general public.

-- Posted by Unbiased on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 8:20 AM

This had nothing to do with his teaching until the Banner Graphic got involved. Almost like the school board needed to come up with a "good" reason to let him go. Also someone with access to parents' cell phone numbers have been calling with a blocked number and telling parents that they had "better back off this whole Butler thing or it would be bad for their kids at school". I don't like what is going on here and I can't wait until the board meeting to hopefully get some answers.

-- Posted by putnammom on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 2:32 PM

I don't intend to upset anyone with what I am going to say but, from experience of going through a sport and several Coaches, sometimes it takes some changes to find the perfect fit of a Coach and his players. We are very greatful to have a Football Coach at Greencastle that is committed to building a program. We went through changes and it isn't easy but it is worth it in the long run. Nothing against Coach Butler at all, but keep an open mind if you get a new Coach and support them. It will make a huge difference.

-- Posted by pettitlori on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 3:30 PM

This type of thing just demonstrates the need to separate education and athletics. To place athletics over education is just plain ignorant.

-- Posted by Dodger on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 8:52 PM

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