Clemson hires former Florida women’s coach Butler
Clemson has turned to former Florida coach Amanda Butler to turn around its troubled women’s basketball program.
Athletic spokesman Joe Galbraith said the school’s Board of Trustees approved a four-year contract Thursday. He said financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.
Butler will be formally introduced as Clemson’s coach on Friday.
Butler takes over for Audra Smith, who was let go last month after five, struggling seasons. The Tigers went just 52-99 overall during Smith’s tenure and were just 9-70 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Butler, 46, played and coached at Florida, going 190-137 in 10 years with the Gators. She made NCAA Tournament four times in that span, never getting past the opening game. Butler till be charged with reviving a Clemson program that last played in the NCAAs in 2002 under coach Jim Davis.
Clemson went 17-12 under Davis two seasons later, but has not had a winning year since. Cristy McKinney had five losing seasons from 2005-06 to 2009-10, Itoro Coleman had three losing seasons from 2010-11 to 2012-13 before Smith’s tenure.
Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said he was seeking someone to have a long-term impact on the women’s program.
Butler has spent the past year out of coaching since she was fired by Florida on her 45th birthday in 2017. In a blog written for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association website, Butler spoke of a yearlong journey to find meaning after the loss of her job at Florida.
“I find it impossible to be grateful and disappointed at the same time, so I choose gratitude,” Butler wrote.
Butler visited friends like former men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan in Oklahoma City, where he’s now coaching the NBA’s Thunder. She spent time with Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who she met several year’s earlier at a Florida coaching clinic and invited Butler to attend the Celtics’ preseason camp for as long as she wanted.
Butler said she learned more about the game and about the place she and other women should have in it. She counseled coaches like herself not to be afraid to ask other professionals for advice and guidance.
“This past year, my presence was both accepted as both a coach and a woman,” she wrote.
Butler will now attempt to bring those lessons to Clemson.