MURRAY — At Calloway County, the man behind the scenes that makes things tick for the multiple athletics teams is athletic director Greg Butler. It has been his job for seven years and the time commitment required hasn’t changed since day one.
Butler’s entire family has been involved in sports pretty much his entire life and basketball was the focal point.
“My father got involved with basketball and had a great deal of success as a player (in 1960 he helped lead Symsonia to the state tournament, then went on to play at then Paducah Junior College and Bethel) and then as a coach,” Butler said. “He was the head coach at Symsonia, Lone Oak, and Graves County. My sister played basketball in high school and then in college at Lambuth. As a child I played everything that I could with neighborhood friends but settled on basketball for high school and college.”
After high school, he accepted an opportunity at UT Martin on the men’s basketball team, but an ACL injury derailed his career. He had surgery to repair the damage and a year later enrolled at Rend Lake University where he played for a season. The following year he headed to Lambuth in Jackson, TN and played his last year of college basketball. All of that time around sports gave him more memories than he could possibly imagine.
“I can’t pinpoint singular memories because there are so many,” Butler said. “I loved going to practices with my father and breaking down game films in preparation for games. I really enjoyed watching my sister play as well. One of my favorite memories was the day that I finally beat her in a game of one-on-one.”
Those memories just scratch the surface for Butler, but when he thinks about the time with his teammates there’s some pretty incredible things to remember.
“As a player, my best memories were of time spent with my teammates at camps and the like,” Butler said. “We really had a lot of fun working together for a common goal. Between my junior and senior year in high school, I made a Kentucky travel team and was able to go to Germany and Holland. I was able to bring back pieces of the Berlin wall that was coming down. I gave my grandfather some of the wall and he was extremely appreciative.”
It’s opportunities like the trip overseas that helped inspire Butler to seek a position in athletics after college.
“Athletics has given me a lot and I want to see the next generation have the same opportunities,” Butler said. “I really enjoy seeing a child earn an accomplishment and be rewarded for their efforts. I truly believe in these life lessons.”
So he puts in the hard work and the long hours to ensure that Calloway County athletes can have a quality experience and create memories of their own.
“I would have to say the biggest challenge is the time involved,” Butler said. “With 20 different teams there are challenges every day and sometimes at night as well. We have several sport offerings and a lot of motivated athletes and coaches. I always want to be available for each of them. I know it is just a game, but it can be a game that is very important in development and provide the athletes with great opportunities.”
Much like the Murray High athletic director Ann Greenfield said, the majority of time spent in the office is focused on paperwork and coordinating with other athletic directors for scheduling.
“A lot of my responsibilities focus on organization and paperwork,” Butler said. “Coaching qualifications, athlete physicals, rosters, and coordination of schedules are a large part of my focus going into each season. All sports have different needs and I try to make myself available for whatever is necessary.”
When Butler got the chance seven years ago to come to Calloway County, he said the decision was easy. For him and his family, everything about the move to Calloway made sense and the athletes make the long hours worth it.
“Calloway is a really good school district both athletically and academically and the opportunity was there,” Butler said. “As an employee and parent this was the right fit. I have been an AD for seven years. The hours are tough, but seeing the athletes celebrate the successes makes it all worthwhile…My biggest motivator is the athletes. I love seeing them enjoy the successes they have earned.”