Todd Butler: the Wizard of Wichita

butlerThe player

Todd Butler played at McNeese State (1985-86) and was a team captain for Oklahoma (1987-88). He still holds the OU single-season record for stolen bases, when he swiped 46 of 50 bags in 1988. In that same year, he was named an all-region, All-Big Eight Conference, and third-team All-American player. Later that year, he signed with the Cleveland Indians, playing one season of professional baseball.

“That was a great time, playing for head coach Enos Semore and his assistants Jim Fleming, Stan Meek and Joe Jordan. They all became scouting directors years later, so that was a fantastic staff. I played one year of minor league baseball, and went back to McNeese State to graduate, which is where I’m from.”

The coach

Butler has made several stops in his coaching career, learning and gaining valuable contacts the whole way. His journey began as a student assistant at McNeese State, spending two of his summers in ‘the Last Frontier’ of Alaska:

“I graduated and I started coaching. Right out of the gate, Jim Fleming- the hitting coach at Oklahoma- contacted Bo Hall and I started coaching with the Kenai Peninsula Oilers [in the Alaska Baseball League] the summer after I finished school. I met a lot of people that I’ve relied on with recruiting through my 24 years of coaching. I coached in Kenai in 1991, and for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in 1992.”

“I also started at Blinn Junior College in 1992, with Kyle Van Hook. We went to Grand Junction and finished third [in the NJCAA World Series; Blinn also won the Texas State Junior College Championship that year]. I think I made $6,000 and lived in the dorms with the players and I was happy as a lark. Then I went to McNeese State the next year for a ‘double bonus’ – I made $12,000. Then I went to Alabama as a restricted-earnings assistant coach and I can definitely say that I paid my dues as a coach.”

In the summer of 1993, Butler managed the Liberal Bee Jays of the Jayhawk Summer Collegiate League before accepting a role as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama in 1994.

“I coached [at Alabama] from 1994-2000 with Jim Wells and I learned a lot on how to READ THE REST