Sports
Butcher named head coach of Enid Jets

Coach Aaron Butcher has a new home, as he announced last week he was leaving his alma mater Ancilla College to take the head coaching job at Northern Oklahoma College -- Enid. Photo provided by Ancilla College. 

By Josh Sigler
jsigler@thepaperofwabash.com

He’s spent the past six seasons building his alma mater’s men’s basketball program into a perennial contender. Now, he’s ready for a new challenge.


Aaron Butcher accepted the head men’s coaching job at Northern Oklahoma College – Enid, a National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association Division I school in between Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kan. He leaves Ancilla with a 113-65 record in six seasons.


“Each of the past few off seasons some opportunities have been presented, and I think you always have to look,” Butcher said. “We did have it going here, but at the same time, Enid is a really nice city and it’s a great basketball job and great people. From a career standpoint, being a Division I Junior College where resources and funding is a better set up. I felt like it was a good move for us.”


Butcher built Ancilla from the bottom up both in the classroom and on the court, setting a record for team GPA as well as a record for wins in a season, as the Chargers went 29-3 this past season and won a conference title.


“When I got the job, the administration said the best we could ever hope for was .500.” Butcher said. “To go 29-3 and 75-19 over a three year span, those are things we’re really proud of.”


Butcher surmised that in most cases, new coaches get jobs because the predecessor wasn’t successful.


That’s not the case at Enid. Coach Greg Shamburg built a strong program in his 17 seasons there, taking the Jets to the national tournament as recent as the 2016-17 season.


“The job came open in the middle the season, around December,” Butcher said. “The coach had been there a while and went to transition into some other things. It was open and we got it wrapped up (Wednesday, April 4). It’s a good program.
“They won the region last year. They have seven returning guys right now. We’re hoping to keep those seven. It’s a pretty good location near Oklahoma City and Wichita, and I think we’ll be able to get into Texas a little bit. We think it’s an area where we think we can get some high level guys and continue to win.”


Butcher, a 2003 Wabash High School grad, will spend the first few days in his new role reaching out to returning players.


“Any time a situation like this happens, there’s an uneasy feeling (among players),” Butcher said. “There’s probably a lot of mixed emotions for the guys in terms of nervousness, not knowing who’s coming in and what their personality or style of play are going to be like. I want to reach out to the guys and introduce myself to them. We’ll meet them face to face (this) week, but you want to call them and text them and reach out to them.


“That was the first order. Then, we assess the roster to see where we’re at and what our needs are. I spent a lot of time on the phone talking to high school coaches in Oklahoma, and some different kids that feel like maybe it would be a fit.”


The diminutive guard for Mike Noszka’s Wabash Apaches is now a head coach of a NJCAA program.


“From Wabash to a college coach in Oklahoma – I never really thought we’d be going out that way,” Butcher said. “It’s funny how it all works. There’s no rhyme of reason. You just work hard and trust the plan.”
 

Posted on 2018 Apr 10