Physical Education/Sports Administration,
Kent State University
Bret Butler in his 17th
season as the head baseball coach at Pitt-Bradford.
started the baseball program at Pitt-Bradford in 1998. During that span, he has
compiled an overall record of 331-267-1, and led the Panthers to three
Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championships, two NCAA Division III
tournament appearances and three ECAC Tournament appearances, twice as the No.
In 2014, Pitt-Bradford
opened the season on a tear with a seven-game win streak during the spring
break tournament in Florida. Junior pitcher Aaron Cressley was tabbed by ‘Perfect
Game’ as the No. 3 ranked NCAA Division III prospect in the nation.
The Panthers returned
home from Florida and entered AMCC play with two wins over Medaille, 5-1 and
3-2. A season of ups and downs on the diamond led the Panthers to a fifth seed
in the AMCC Tournament. Cressley wrapped up his season on the mound third in
the conference in strikeouts with 76 before declaring for the Major League
Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
junior Derek Smith was named the AMCC Player of the Year, the second straight
Panther and third overall in program history to receive the award. Two other
players were represented on the all-conference team, and Smith was eventually
named a D3Baseball.com honorable mention All-American, the first in school
just the program’s third year of existence, Butler directed Pitt-Bradford to
the 2001 AMCC Championship. The Panthers repeated as conference champions the
following season and set a school-record with 32 wins. In 2005, the Panthers
entered the conference tournament as the fourth seed and upset the top two
teams en route to winning the program’s third conference title. Both the 2002
and 2005 squads advanced to the national tournament.
has won the conference regular season crown four times under Butler. He has
been named the AMCC Coach of the Year twice, in 2001 and 2006, and has coached
56 all-conference players including the 2001 (Eric Haynoski), 2011 (Michael
Pascarella), and 2012 (Derek Smith) Player of the Year recipients, four
Newcomers of the Year, and three all-region players.
has coached three players at Pitt-Bradford that have gone on to play
professional baseball and is the only coach in the AMCC to have had players
drafted in the Major League Baseball Draft. In 2008, current pitching coach,
Zach Foster, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Foster played six years in
the Pirates organization and made it to the AA level.
In June of 2014, Cressley
was drafted by the San Diego Padres and is preparing for his second year of
professional baseball. Both Foster and
Cressley were chosen to play in their respective All-Star games, while at the A
Cressley had an
excellent rookie season for the Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League,
posting a 3.60 ERA in 35 IP and tacked on 29 K’s.
2013 graduate and
former AMCC Player of the Year, Derek Smith, signed a free agent contract with
the Gary Southshore Railcats in the American Association of independent
professional baseball. In the 2014 season, Smith hit an eye-popping .438 in 80
AB’s as a utility player, all while in his first season for the organization.
Smith has re-signed with the Gary club for the 2015 campaign.
summer of 2011, Butler coached the Athletes in Action Fire in the prestigious
Alaska Baseball League. The wood bat league features many of the top collegiate
players from around the country and is regarded as one of the top summer
leagues for underclassmen. From that team, four players went on to be
drafted and one more signed as a free agent.
Butler served as an assistant at Baldwin Wallace College for four years, and
prior to that, he was an assistant at Hiram College for two seasons.
graduated from Baldwin Wallace University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in
pre-law, and earned a master’s degree in physical education and sport
administration from Kent State University in 1997.
currently resides in Bradford, Pa., with his wife, Jackie.