KEENE, N.H.--The Keene State College soccer field will be renamed to honor former Keene State College men's soccer coach Dr. Ron Butcher. The field will be dedicated to the long-time coach as Ron Butcher Field in a ceremony on September 21, during the men's soccer game against Rhode Island College.
"Having spent 43 years as the head coach and representing Keene State in numerous conferences - NAIA, NCAA II and NCAA III - as well as producing outstanding All-Conference, All-New England and All-American players, this honor has more to do with the people in the program who have made it happen. I want to thank all of my assistant coaches over the years who have helped the program achieve success. Without their wisdom and knowledge of the game and their sound advice from scouting opponents to comments during games, the outcomes in many key games might have gone against the Owls," said Dr. Butcher. "I would also like to thank our current soccer coach Rick Scott, president Melinda Treadwell, and executive director Veronica Rosa, for their hard work and perseverance in making this honor a truly memorable moment in my life as a teacher-coach,"
Butcher served as Keene State's head coach from 1970-2013, finishing with a record of 596-263-72 (.679) in a career that spanned three different divisions. Long considered the dean of men's soccer coaches in New England, Butcher had success at all levels of competition, leading the Owls to 31 postseason tournament appearances, including NCAA Division III berths 10 out of his final 17 years.
The Owls' longtime soccer guru was recognized often for his coaching accomplishments. He was awarded NAIA Coach of the Year honors in 1974 and 1981, was named the NEISL Division II New England Coach of the Year in 1991, and received LEC coaching honors in 1999, 2002, 2010 and 2011.
"I am absolutely thrilled that Keene State College is recognizing Ron Butcher," said Keene State College President Dr. Melinda Treadwell '90. "Ron has been an exceptional member of this community for many years and has always modeled excellence, high expectations, and success. We pay tribute to him, his legacy, and our future with this naming."
"I would like to thank Rick Scott who was first a student at Keene State, then a four-year outstanding player for the Owls, and finally my assistant coach for 22 years for his wisdom and guidance about the game. We were like brothers and could almost read each other's minds in key situations. I will never forget our many scouting and recruiting trips and late nights during this time. And finally, to all the student-athletes who made the magic happen. I have fond memories of all of you in good times and in turbulent times. We always found a way to pull out a game. Hard work, perseverance and a solid work ethic got us results. I might have been an unorthodox coach at times, but we wound up having many more good times than bad."
"We're delighted to honor Coach Butcher with the dedication of the Keene State soccer field in his name," said Keene State College Director of Athletics and Recreation Phil Racicot. "He led the men's soccer program to a high level of success, while establishing Keene State as a regional and national power. We look forward to welcoming many alums back to Keene for the dedication and Reunion Weekend."
"It's a very well deserved honor - a lot of time and effort went into this project. This is one of the nicest grass fields in New England, and teams always enjoy playing here," said current Keene State soccer coach Rick Scott '77. "It's unusual to coach for so many decades at the same school. He built a very successful program with a lot of loyal alumni. We're expecting the largest soccer alumni gathering in the history of the school on September 21."
Honing his soccer coaching skills at Pittsfield (N.H.) High and later at Wisconsin-Platteville, where he got a chance to pick the brains of players and coaches running many of the Sunday leagues and camps in the area, Dr. Butcher, a goalkeeper by trade, was encouraged to look into the Keene State job by then-athletic director Ted Kehr and basketball coach Glenn Theulen. Dr. Butcher didn't disappoint them. Hired in 1970, and bringing in players from England and later Montreal, his teams became a juggernaut in the NAIA by reaching the national tournament multiple times throughout the '70s and early '80s.
Although his teams lacked the scholarships of its counterparts in the old New England Collegiate Conference, the Owls still found a way to win in Division II. Moving to Division III in the fall of 1997, Keene State earned an NCAA berth in eight of its first 10 seasons in the Little East Conference.
A member of four different Halls of Fame, Butcher was inducted into the Keene State Hall of Fame in 2005, as well as the New Hampshire Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame (1998), the Plymouth State Hall of Fame (2001), and the Little East Conference Hall of Fame (2014).
Kick-off against Rhode Island College is scheduled for 3 p.m. The ceremony will take place at halftime, with a further celebration of Coach Butcher following the game.
For tickets, please contact Assistant Athletic Director Abe Osheyack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keene State College soccer alums as well as Friends of Keene State Soccer are encouraged to contact Rick Scott at email@example.com for more information on the day's proceedings.