“As a new athletic director the learning curve just got steeper” said first year Athletic Director (AD) Larry Just regarding the unprecedented times and effect the COVID-19 outbreak has had for sports not only on KHSAA and Butler but to sports across the world. For the first time in state history the KHSAA has suspended all spring sports along with both of the boys and girls state basketball tournaments through at least May 1st. This as of now means no baseball,softball,track ,and tennis. No physical college signings, and finally no senior night amongst many others.
“I hope we come to realize that what we think is important in our daily lives and in the world of athletics, really is not as important as our family, friends and others that in our lives” said Just. Just also hopes if possible the seniors can have some form of recognize before they leave. ‘I am in a holding pattern like everyone else is until we get more direction from those above me, I do think this will affect our fall sports in some fashion” Just also gave an update on the status of finding a new head boys basketball coach . “The position has been posted and will end on April 16th. At that time we hope to finalize our list of candidates to be interviewed and be ready to hire our next basketball coach soon after that. Trying to find someone that will run the program in a professional manner challenge the players and do things right is my challenge”.
I also got a chance to speak with first-year Head Baseball Coach Tim Brown on his thoughts of what is going on and how he feels about not being able to be with his team his first year. He said: “It’s tough not being on the field with the players and coaches. We’ve all worked so hard to build something with high expectations. and sadly we will not get the opportunity to show our work this year. It does not bother me not coaching as a first year coach as much as it bothers me not stepping on the field with the players as a family, especially the seniors. We really feel like we have the team to win the 6th region and reach the state tournament.”
Not only does this have a affect on the seniors but it affects the juniors as this is usually a year of recruitment from college coaches. I talked to junior Cole McMichael on his thoughts. “It sucks not being able to play. With a new coach and a good team I think we would have been able to go far this season. I hope travel ball will be on so I can get that chance to be looked at from college programs”.
Lastly due to COVID-19 the ability to have a physical college signing ceremony or to plan ahead for college athletics has been put on hold for the time being. I talked with Butler Soccer top defender Cody Peace who just recently had a virtual commitment sighing to play soccer at Spalding University “Not having a true college signing wasn’t very fun. I wanted to have that experience you only get it once. As far as pre season or any kind of training I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve been conditioning and getting touches on the ball by myself, but with a team you get a lot more out of it. Teammates pushing you harder, getting the proper coaching. I hope everything gets back to normal as soon as possible so I can get back on my game’.
Time will tell what will happen for Butler Athletics. It is a time of uncertainty. For now stay safe, be well, and Go Bears!
Edited By: Trey Seibert