Longtime Bryan County softball coach Al Butler has confirmed that he will not be returning next season.
“I sort of knew this was coming but I still don’t understand why,” he said. “I started hearing waves right after tryouts last May.”
Butler said he was relieved of his coaching duties by administrators last week. District officials said they did not have any comment on the matter or immediate timetable for filling the position.
“People may disagree with softball decisions, but we did the best we could on the field every single day, so I’m convinced this is not solely about softball.”
In nine seasons with the Redskins, Butler compiled a record of 212-127, reaching the Final Four in the state tournament twice. During his tenure, more than a dozen players signed scholarship offers to play softball in college, most notably Division I players Tiffany Howard at Auburn, Brooke Barfield at Georgia Tech and Shelby Barfield at Georgia Southern. Logan Harrell has also signed with Georgia Southern after playing the first two years of her career at Division II Armstrong State.
Butler said he has heard from numerous current and former players, who took the news hard.
“I feel sad for the kids,” he said. “I don’t understand this different direction, but that’s their prerogative.”
Butler, a science teacher at Bryan County Middle School, said he’s not sure what the future holds.
“I’ve received phone calls from around the state with offers and I’m very flattered,” he said. “It would be hard to stay here. If I get the right offer, I’ll have to really think about it.”