New Tri County athletic director makes transition


By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 1:43 pm on Monday, November 21, 2011

HOWARD CITY – Not long after the start of the fall high school sports season Tri County High School found itself searching for a new athletic director.
In September, former athletic director/boys varsity basketball coach Tim Kisner accepted a teaching and assistant basketball coach position at Lake Superior State University. Phil Butler recently filled the Vikings open AD position.

Butler is a Tri County graduate (2000) and area business owner. This is his first school administrator position, although he has coached football at both the high school and collegiate levels.

“It’s going good. I’m getting adjusted and learning the systems and how everything works,” Butler said of the new job.

Butler has always wanted to be an athletic director. He is hoping to put his experience in the business and coaching worlds to good use.

“I wanted to put the two together and I love athletics,” he said. “I’m looking for more of a long term career putting athletics with business. I graduated from Tri County and I’ve wanted to be involved with the school for a long time and give back to the school.”

Butler was quarterbacks coach at Hope College from 2005-2008 and head football coach at Newaygo High School from 2009-2010.

His main goal as athletic director is to unite the school and community.

“We are going to keep building on some of the things that Tim (Kisner) did real well here,” Butler said. “Our main goal is to unite the community and bring back that pride of ownership to Howard City and Tri County.”

Butler plans to use the athletic department to help with his goal.

“We will try to do that through athletics. I think the community is definitely there,” he said. “We just need to tap into our resources and put some good things on the field and courts and give back to the businesses after they have given so much. I think that everyone involved can be proud of Tri County.”

One of Butler’s first job duties was to find a replacement for Kisner as boy’s varsity basketball coach. Longtime boys junior varsity coach Chad Gould was that person.

“We hired Chad Gould,” Butler said. “Chad has been coaching for 10 years at the varsity level. He is going to do good things.”

So far, Butler is enjoying the job change.

“Coaching is a fraternity that you want to be a part of,” Butler said. “The bottom line is everyone is there for the kids. When you are looking out for the best interest of the kids good things are going to happen and it’s a good group to be around.

“I’ve enjoyed it. The coaches have been very great to me. The administrators and students have accepted me as well,” he added.

Tri County competes in the Lakes 8 Conference.

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