CHUCK Butler had the interim tag officially removed from his title just last month and is now set to go as Jackson County’s full-time head boys’ basketball coach.
Butler, who played for Jackson County in the 1990s, began this past season as an assistant but took over as head coach in an interim capacity following the abrupt resignation of first-year coach Mark DeFoor.
Now, the 34-year-old Butler has the job on a full-time basis.
“I’m definitely really excited about the opportunity,” he said. “Being an alumni of Jackson County, and wanting to come back and be a head coach, it’s definitely a dream that I’ve had for a while.”
Jackson County athletic director Adam Lindsey said the school is excited to have Butler as its official boys’ head coach now.
“He brings years of experience and success to our team,” Lindsey said. “He has done an incredible job with our JV teams in the past, and we expect him to do the same with our varsity team in the future. He has shown a great knowledge of the game and great ability to make adjustments on the fly. His hard work, discipline and commitment to JCCHS basketball and athletics will make our teams the pride of the county.”
Butler coached the final seven games of the 2013-2014 season, which included a 57-54 victory over Franklin County in his first game as interim coach. While he was able to steady the team during a sudden transition, he’s now looking forward to having time to build. He’s already scheduled 20 summer games in June to help develop team chemistry.
“Kind of dealing with all that adversity at the end of the season, and getting to transition in, I’m really excited about getting with the team this summer and getting to set our own standards and expectations and move forward from that,” Butler said.
Jackson County lost four seniors off last year’s 7-20 team, but at least 30 players in the program — spanning from the sub varsity level to the varsity — could return.
“Being on the staff last year and knowing those guys last year, it will be good,” Butler said. “It will be a good situation. I kind of have an idea of what to expect going into the summer.”
The returning cast includes a number of starters or key contributors, including Antonio Strickland, Corey Ramey, Jacob Lewis, Nathan Robards and Adrain Parson.
“We’ve got some guys who have had some pretty good minutes and then we’ve got a really good young group,” Butler said.
Though Butler will be Jackson County’s third head coach in as many years, he is a very familiar face within Panther basketball circles.
In addition to being on staff last year, he has served as a Jackson County assistant coach on two other separate occasions — once for former head coach Todd Henry and later for former head coach Britt Beaver. He also spent time as an assistant coach under Billy Wade at Clarke Central.
Butler, who has 12 years of coaching experience, started his coaching career at West Jackson Middle School and then moved to East Jackson Middle School before advancing to the high school ranks.
Being a head coach — especially at his alma mater — is a dream come true for Butler.
“I knew I wanted to be a teacher and a coach when I was a sophomore here at Jackson County, and I’ve been going through that processes and waiting for that opportunity to open up one day,” Butler said. “Now here it is. I’m definitely excited about it.”