Physical Education/Sports Administration,
Kent State University
Bret Butler enters his second school year as Pitt-Bradford's director of athletics and recreational sports.
Prior to stepping into his new role, Butler served 18 seasons as Pitt-Bradford's head baseball coach. Butler was officially named the University's athletics director on Jan. 13, 2016.
Butler 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. 1 seed.
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.
In 2012, 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 history.
In 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.
Pitt-Bradford 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.
Butler 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 level.
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.
In the 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.
Previously, 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.
He 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.
Butler currently resides in Bradford, Pa., with his wife, Jackie, and son, Bret James.