2012 heartland hall of fame inductee
coach butch woner
This year we are proud to induct our Fifth member into the Heartland Hall of Fame. The 2012 Inductee into the Heartland Hall of Fame is Coach Butch Woner.
Now we could sit here and talk about how Butch’s teams were all winners, how they were not only feared by other teams, but respected – We could talk about the State Championships, the top 10 finishes @ Nationals….the success. But that’s not what is important to Butch & the Heartland Softball Organization. But wait…who are we kidding?? In the words of former Chicago Whitesox coach, Ozzie Guillen, “winning is fun” so lets talk about that winning…Coach Butch coached the Li’l Hearts from 1989 – 1990, then the Heartland Hustle from 1991 – 1996, then back to the Li’l Hearts in 1997. He led the Heartland Havoc from 1998 – 2006, after that he began his trek with the Xtreme Havoc in 2007 til now. In that time Coach Butch has collected an amazing 8 state championships, 10 top 10 finishes @ Nationals, including 7th in ’90 w/ the 12U Li’l Hearts, 4th in USA/ASA Nationals with his 16U team in ’94 which is the highest finish of any Illinois Team @ 16U. In 1996 the Heartland Hustle took 3rd @ NSA Nationals & in 2005 the Havoc took 2nd @ the USSSA Nationals. Are you impressed yet?? Well lets not forget that from run from 2003-2005 when Coach Butch coached the Heartland Havoc to back to back to back State Championships. Yes, thats 3 consecutive 18 & under A state championships. Butch may very well be one of the winningest coaches in Illinois ASA history.
Winning is a huge part of Butch’s teams but wasn’t the highest priority to Butch though. His work ethic that he taught the girls on & off the field is unmatched. Like the other Heartland coaches in the Heartland hall of Fame, his impact on his player’s lives as human beings, competitors & future female leaders was at the forefront. He taught them to believe in themselves & to be humble just like him. He taught the girls to play hard & leave it all on the field. He taught them to respect themselves, each other & to respect the game. He taught these virtues by example and through the game of softball.
He has deeply impacted Quad City softball players and coaches as well. Many coaches in the area aspire to be like Coach Butch, including Heartland president John Nelson who names Butch as his favorite softball coach along w/ Butch’s assistant Tom Crowder… and I think Butch lists Tommy Crowder as HIS favorite softball coach…Ladies & gentlemen, lets hear it for a Quad City softball gem…Coach Butch’s assistant coach Tom Crowder. (applause)
Not only do Coaches aspire to be like Butch, but girls really want to play for him. He communicates with them on a different level…a level of mutual respect. The girls know he cares about them more than just softball players. He cares about their life after ASA softball. Butch does an amazing job of putting the girls best interests first. Beyond developing them to play the right way at a high level, he also makes it priority to make sure they get seen by college coaches. He sets the girls up for success by pushing them to camps, clinics & teaches them how to pursue the dream of playing college softball. A hundred or more girls have gone on to play college softball after playing for Butch, dozens of Division 1 players, and even a few playing in the pro’s.
Butch is a huge reason the Heartland Softball Organization is in the Illinois ASA Hall of Fame. He’s virtually been here since the beginning of the Heartland Organization. He is the reason the Heartland Softball Organization decided to adopt his team name & make ALL Heartland teams “Heartland Havoc.” Coach Butch & his teams are the standard that the rest of the Heartland teams strive to achieve.