Butler takes helm at MA

Published 4:49 pm Friday, July 22, 2011

LINDEN — Marengo Academy wasted little time filling its baseball coaching vacancy. After learning Tuesday of Jonathan Lindsey’s departure, the school hired Bart Butler on Friday.

Butler, a Demopolis High graduate, worked under Lindsey as the team’s hitting coach during the 2011 season in which the Longhorns finished as the state runners up in Class AA.

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“I think that’s a big thing,” Marengo Academy headmaster Robby James said. “He was already familiar with the kids, familiar with our system, how we’ve done and all that.”

“Under the right circumstances, I knew I’d be interested in it as long as I could continue going to school while I coach,” Butler said. “I knew that would be the only way I could do it.”

Butler played college baseball at Central Alabama Community College before moving on to play for Shorter College for his final two years of eligibility.

“The thing I felt like is that he was aware of the players and they certainly like him and respect him,” James said. “Coach Lindsey had so many good things to say about Coach Butler. We just felt like we had a great coach to step in after losing a great coach. We feel like we’ve got a great coach with him and we’re excited about it. He’s the first guy we’ve talked to and the only guy we’ve talked to. It just so happened he was interested and we wanted him. It worked out really well for us and in a short period of time we got a great coach.”

Butler will spend the fall semester as a graduate student at Auburn University before returning to Linden to begin readying the team for its February opener while taking online graduate classes.

“We’ve had a good program. We lost some seniors, but we’ve got some good kids coming back,” James said. “We feel like with somebody like Bart there, we can keep them and maybe attract some others.”

Butler pointed to Marengo Academy’s tradition as a major drawing card in deciding to accept the position.

“It’s a big lure. The stuff that Jonathan did when he was there, to be able to continue to be able building the program like he did. You don’t have to teach the kids how to win,” Butler, who has gone 36-12 over two summers of coaching travel ball teams comprised primarily of players from Marengo County, said. “They expect to win 20 ball games a year and go deep into the playoffs every year. If you don’t do that, it’s a disappointment. It was too good of a job to pass up. It’s a great job. I am blessed beyond measure that they decided that I was the guy.”

Butler, who also spent a season as a student assistant coach at Shorter, said he learned a great deal from Lindsey on how to run a program.

“I learned a lot from Jonathan. The way he ran his program, he is just a top-notch coach and a top-notch guy. Those kids went out there and they battled for him everyday. I learned a lot,” Butler said. “I’m hoping I can just take what I learned and keep it going.”

Butler said he will strive to ensure his teams at Marengo Academy take on much of the personality that made him successful as a player.

“On the field, the goal is the same. You’ve got to win. We’re going to be ready to work hard. That’s how I was as a player. I worked hard. I was known for that. That’s what this team is known for,” Butler said. “Off the field, they need to represent the school well. We’re going to represent Marengo Academy well. We’re going to represent Marengo County, period, well.”