GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Amanda Butler, one of the nation’s top young coaching talents as well as a former four-year starter and two-year assistant coach for the University of Florida, has been named the Gators’ ninth head women’s basketball coach, athletics director Jeremy Foley announced today.
Butler, 35, possesses 12 years of college coaching experience, including two as the head coach of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Not only does Butler bring success from her decade on the sidelines, she brings a unique passion to the University of Florida. Butler is returning to her alma mater, where she was a four-year starter for the Gators from 1990-94. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Sciences with honors on May 6, 1995 and was awarded a Master of Exercise and Sport Sciences on August 9, 1997.
“We talked to a lot of people during this hiring process and the one name that continually surfaced was Amanda Butler’s. She is a young, up-and-coming coach who has such a bright future,” Foley said. “The University of Florida has enjoyed a lot of success with young, talented coaches and those were the characteristics we were looking for in the person to lead our women’s basketball program. We found that person in Amanda Butler. She shares the same vision I have for the program and we are both excited about the future of Florida women’s basketball.
“Best of all, Amanda is a Gator,” Foley continued. “She played hard on the court and worked equally hard in the classroom and represents the best aspects of the type of person we hope our student-athletes develop into. We are proud that Amanda is a Gator and we welcome her home.”
“This is a very emotional day for me because returning to the University of Florida is a dream come true,” Butler said. “There is a lot of work to be done and I am anxious to get right to work. Florida is such a respected place, athletically and academically, and we will work hard on the court, in the classroom and in the Gainesville community and make the Gator Nation proud.”
“Amanda is a dynamic coach with a lot of energy and passion,” Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator Lynda Tealer said. “In addition, she brings to the program a sense of pride and true love for the Gators. We are fortunate to have Amanda as the new leader of our women’s basketball program. Under her direction, the sky really is the limit to what we can accomplish. I look forward to the journey.”
During her two years as head coach at Charlotte, Butler compiled a 40-22 record that included two WNIT berths and a share of the 2005-06 Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season championship. Her debut season resulted in a 21-9 record, the most wins ever by a Charlotte coach in their first year, as Butler was recognized as the league’s Coach of the Year. This season the 49ers posted a 19-13 overall mark, advancing to the WNIT second round before losing to Virginia, 74-72.
Butler joined the Charlotte staff for the 2001-02 season as an assistant under first-year head coach Katie Meier and helped the 49ers to a 16-13 record, the program’s first winning season in eight years. In her second year as an assistant coach at Charlotte, the 49ers captured the 2003 Conference USA regular-season title and earned the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championship.
She was promoted to Associate Head Coach the following season, and when Meier departed to take the head job at the University of Miami (Florida), Butler became the logical choice to assume the 49ers head position.
Butler has emerged as a proven recruiter, bringing to Charlotte four All-Atlantic 10 selections, four Conference USA All-Freshman team members and one All-Conference USA honoree.
Twenty-three of the top 24 attendances for women’s basketball at Charlotte have come during Butler’s five seasons with the 49ers.
Prior to her arrival in Charlotte, Butler spent four seasons (1997-2001) as an assistant coach at Austin Peay University in Tennessee. Her final season working under then-head coach Susie Gardner resulted in the Lady Govs’ winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament for the second time in program history and making its second-ever trip to the NCAA Championship.
Given her talents as a collegiate coach, it comes as no surprise that Butler has played a role in some of the most successful seasons in Florida history. Upon graduation, then-Florida coach Carol Ross hired Butler as the Gators’ first-ever graduate assistant coach. That 1995-96 squad compiled a 21-9 record and earned a berth into the NCAAs. The following season, the Gators won a program-record 24 games and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championships, falling to Old Dominion, 53-51.
Seven times in Butler’s 12 years on the sidelines her team has competed in the postseason, including four NCAA Championship appearances.
Florida enjoyed two of its best finishes in the Southeastern Conference Tournament during Butler’s time as an assistant, with the Gators advancing to the semifinals for the first time in program history during the 1996 campaign and followed it with the team’s first * and still only * appearance in the championship game.
On the court, the 5-foot-8 guard immediately took charge of the team from her first day at Florida, also the rookie season for Ross as head coach, as Butler started 99 of the 114 games she played during her career. During her junior and senior seasons, she led the Gators to the first two NCAA Championship appearances in program history that began a run of seven consecutive trips to the NCAAs.
Butler, who was a three-time member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, completed her Gator career ranked second on the program’s all-time assists list with 401, while ranking among top-three for career three-pointers made (77) and attempted (278). The team captain during her senior season, Butler helped the Gators compile 73 victories during her tenure, the best four-year total in school history at that time, and to 21 SEC wins, also the most during a four-year span.
A native of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., Butler enjoyed a stellar prep career at Mt. Juliet High School, where she tallied over 1,400 points and received All-Mid-State honors and All-District honors for three straight years, including first-team recognition in 1989 and 1990. Butler, who graduated in the top 10 percent of her senior class, is the daughter of Stephen and Barbara Butler.
Butler’s Head Coaching Record
Year Record Postseason
2005-06 21-9 WNIT A-10 Champions
2006-07 19-13 WNIT
2 Years 40-22 2 Postseason Appearances
Amanda Butler At a Glance
1995-97 Florida Assistant Coach
1997-2001 Austin Peay Assistant Coach
2001-03 Charlotte Assistant Coach
2003-05 Charlotte Associate Head Coach
2005-07 Charlotte Head Coach
College: University of Florida (BS in Exercise and Sport Sciences, 1995; Master of Exercise and Sport Sciences, 1997)
High School: Mt. Juliet HS
Playing Career: Four-year starting guard at Florida (1990-94)
Hometown: Mt. Juliet, Tenn.
Born: March 6, 1972
What Others are Saying About Amanda Butler:
“Amanda is the toughest player I have ever coached. She’s not just physically tough, but mentally strong and competitive. Everything that Amanda has done since I first met her as an 18-year-old has prepared her and led her down the path to become the Gator head coach. I feel like a proud mamma, having watched her mature and grow and become such a talented young coach. There is not a more perfect person to lead Florida than Amanda Butler. I’m proud to have played a role in her development and am excited to watch the program flourish under her leadership.”—Carol Ross, current Ole Miss head coach and former Florida head coach who also coached Amanda Butler for four years and hired her as a UF assistant coach
“Florida didn’t just hit a home run by hiring Amanda Butler, it was a grand slam! There are few people I know who have the passion for their alma mater like she does. She’s a Gator to the core. Florida has all the resources and facilities to become one of the top programs and Amanda Butler has the intelligence and enthusiasm to make it work. She’s the perfect coach for the Florida Gators.”—Beth Dunkenberger, Virginia Tech head coach
“Amanda Butler is a great hire and I congratulate the University of Florida for seeing what a talented and special coach she is. It’s the perfect fit. I know becoming the head coach at Florida has been her dream since the day she set foot on campus as a player. Amanda has worked so hard to place herself in the position to become the Gators’ head coach. I am so proud of her and I couldn’t be more happy for her.”—Katie Meier, University of Miami head coach and former Charlotte head coach, who brought Amanda Butler to Charlotte as an assistant coach
“Amanda Butler is a bright, young coach and Florida made an excellent hire. She’s returning to her alma mater and there is something to be said about the pride a person feels when they’re home. Amanda is pure energy and has the enthusiasm and desire for what it takes to return the Gators to the national picture in women’s basketball.”—Debbie Antonelli, Women’s Basketball National Analyst
“This is a great opportunity for Amanda. We are proud of what she was able to accomplish here with the 49ers and we wish her the best of luck.”—Judy Rose, Charlotte Director of Athletics