Friday, June 27, 2003
TUSCALOOSA, Ala -- Former University of Alabama assistant baseball coach Todd Butler, who spent the last three seasons as head coach at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., has returned to the Capstone as assistant baseball coach, according to Crimson Tide head coach Jim Wells.
Butler replaces former assistant coach Danny Watkins, who has been reassigned within the athletic department. Watkins served as an assistant coach each for the last two seasons at Alabama.
"We are very excited to have Todd Butler coming back to the University of Alabama," Crimson Tide head coach Jim Wells said. "Having worked here for six years, Todd is well prepared to take on the duties at hand."
Butler, 36, served as an assistant coach under Wells as Alabama from 1995-2000, where he helped the Crimson Tide to six NCAA Regional appearances and three trips to the College World Series (1996, 1997 and 1999).
"This is a great opportunity," Butler said upon his return to Tuscaloosa. "After working for coach Wells for six years, I developed a lot of trust in him. The opportunity to come back to the University of Alabama is something I could not pass up. I am excited to be a part of Alabama baseball once again and I am ready to get back to work with such a successful program."
Butler spent the last three seasons as head coach at McNeese State University (2001-03), where he compiled a 90-83 (.520) overall record. Butler's best season was his last season in Lake Charles, as he guided the Cowboys to the 2003 Southland Conference Tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Regionals.
The Cowboys opened the season by winning 17 of their first 24 games and were ranked in the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association (NCBWA) poll after beating such teams as Southern Miss, South Alabama, Ole Miss (twice), Wichita State, Ohio State and Louisiana Lafayette. McNeese State was also tabbed by CollegeBaseballInsider.com as the "National Team of the Week."
McNeese (31-30) beat SLC Champion Lamar once and Beaumont and then swept Sam Houston State at home on the final weekend of the regular season to earn the sixth seed at the 2003 SLC Tournament. McNeese State won its first three games, beating No. 1 Lamar, Northwestern State and Texas Arlington to advance to the title game. After dropping a 12-7 decision to UTA in the opener, McNeese State posted an easy 14-0 win in the if necessary game to claim the tournament title and secure the school's fourth NCAA Regional bid in history.
McNeese took on No. 1 seed Rice, the eventual national champion, in the 2003 Houston Regional opener at Reckling Park and took the Owls to the limits, before falling 3-2 in 10 innings in the opener. Ole Miss eliminated the Cowboys the following day from the 64-team field.
Butler served as the hitting instructor and outfielders coach in his first stint with the Crimson Tide, while serving as one of the chief recruiters. Butler will likely inherit those same duties as he rejoins the staff for the second time.
On the recruiting front, Butler helped land some of the nation's top talent as UA recorded three consecutive Top 10 recruiting classes. The 1999 freshman class was rated No. 4 in America, the highest in school history.
On the field, Butler helped the Crimson Tide offense to one of the most productive years in school history, leading the NCAA in four offensive categories in 1997. Alabama led all Division I schools in runs scored (679), total hits (860) and total bases (1,571). In addition, the Crimson Tide won the NCAA statistical championship for highest slugging percentage (.621), eclipsing the previous school record (.521, 1983) by 100 points.
Alabama also set school records during the 1997 season for highest batting average (.340), runs scored (679), hits (860), home runs (160), RBI (625), total bases (1,571) and slugging percentage (.621). The runs and total bases were both Southeastern Conference records, while the home runs and RBI totals ranked second in SEC history.
Prior to joining Alabama in 1995, Butler served as an assistant coach at McNeese State (1993-94) under Tony Robichaux, now the head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette.
In 1994, Butler helped the Cowboys to a 41-17 record en route to the Southland Conference championship and a berth in the NCAA Central II Regionals in Austin, Texas. McNeese State set set the single-season school record with 155 stolen bases. The Cowboys also won their own Lake Area Classic, which included a 7-6 first-round win over Alabama.
Before rejoining the staff at McNeese State, Butler served as an assistant coach at Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas during the 1992 season. Blinn Junior College posted a 45-24 record in Butler's only season, winning the Texas State Junior College Championship and advancing the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.
In 1990-91, Butler served as a student-assistant coach at McNeese State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in liberal studies in 1991.
In addition to his duties at McNeese and Blinn JC, Butler served as an assistant coach in the Alaskan Summer League and as head coach in the Jayhawk (Kansas) League. In 1991, he served as an assistant coach for the Kenai Peninsual Oilers, helping the team to the league championship with a 35-20 record and a third-place finish at the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kansas. The following year (1992), Butler was an assistant coach for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots, who finsihed runner-up in the Alaskan League (28-22) and third in the NBC World Series.
In 1993, Butler was the head coach of the Liberal (Kansas) BeeJays, where he guided the team to a 33-24 record and Western Division championship.
As a player, Butler played two seasons at McNeese State before transferring to the University of Oklahoma. A two-year letterman for coach Enos Semore, Butler was a third-team All-American selection in 1988 by the American Baseball Coaches Association. He also played one season for the Wareham gateman in the Cape Cod League.
After his playing days at OU, Butler signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Indians and played two seasons in their minor league system at Waterloo (Iowa) and Burlington (North Carolina).
Butler was born July 23, 1966 in Alexandria, La., and is married to the former Melissa Borrel. The couple has two daughters, Caitlyn (5) and Kendyll (3 months).
TODD BUTLER FILE
Born: July 23, 1966 - Alexandria, Louisiana
Family: Melissa (wife) and daughters Caitlyn (5) and Kendyll (3 months)
Education: McNeese State University, Bachelor's Degree (Liberal Arts), 1991
McNeese State University (1985-86)
University of Oklahoma (1987-88)
Cleveland Indians (1988-89)
Student Assistant Coach - McNeese State University (1990-91)
Assistant Coach - Blinn Junior College (1992)
*Texas State Junior College Champions
*Third Place Finish at NJCAA World Series
Assistant Coach - McNeese State University (1993-94)
*1994 Southland Conference Tournament Champions (41-17)
*NCAA Central II Regional Participant (Austin, Texas)
*School record for wins (41) and stolen bases (155) in 1994
Assistant Coach - The University of Alabama (1995-2000)
*1995 SEC Western Division Tournament Champions
*1995 NCAA East Regional Runnerup (Clemson, SC)
*1996 SEC Champions and SEC Tournament Champions
*1996 NCAA South I Regional Champions
*5th Place at 1996 College World Series
*1997 SEC Tournament Champions
*1997 South II Regional Champions
*1997 National Runnerup at College World Series
*Set 40+ team and individual offensive batting records
*Led the NCAA in four statistical categories in 1997
*1997 NCAA Slugging Percentage statistical national champion
*1998 NCAA West Regional Runnerup (Palo Alto, Calif.)
*1999 SEC Tournament Champions
*1999 NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional Champions
*1999 NCAA Super Regional Champions
*Third-Place at 1999 College World Series
*2000 NCAA Palo Alto Regional Runnerup (Stanford)
Head Coach, McNeese State University (2001-03)
*Compiled 90-83 (.520) record in three seasons
*2002 Southland Conference Tournament Participant
*2003 Southland Conference Tournament Champions
*2003 NCAA Houston Regional Participant
*Named "National Team of the Week" by CollegeBaseballInsider.com
Assistant Coach, The University of Alabama (Present)
*Rejoined the Alabama coaching staff on June 26, 2003.