Coach Jim Butler on 30+ Years of Coaching, Talent vs. Intangibles, Tech, and more

A good coach can leave a lasting impact on an athlete, and an outstanding coach will foster a lifelong passion for excellence in sport and beyond. By surrounding yourself with a mentor and a supportive team in your running – whatever that means for you – you can create the foundation for success in training, racing, and life.

Even if you tend to run solo, training and preparation for competition never happens alone. Whether it‘s a high school or collegiate team, your family and friends, or a coach and other running related professionals, support comes from a wide array of individuals who help us grow and improve.

Some of us are lucky enough to find a mentor to guide our long-term love affair with running. They set the standard high in their own accomplishments and inspire us to do the same. Jim Butler, whom I’ll forever refer to as “Coach”,  has been doing that for over 30 years as the head coach of men’s cross country team at my alma mater, Connecticut College.  

Jim Butler on coaching, athlete intangibles, & developments in the sport

Coach Jim Butler was the 2002 New England Cross Country coach of the year, the 2004 New England Small College Athletic Conference Coach of the year, and an impressive 2:37 marathoner. He coached multiple national qualifiers and took his 2002 team to the national championship meet.

Aside from being an outstanding coach, Jim is also an incredible human who took those he coached under his wing and always made them feel like family. During my time at Conn, we went to his house regularly for meals and get-togethers that helped us grow as a team.

In our conversation, we discuss his background and how he developed a passion for running and coaching, and how he has continued to instill that in others over the years. 

Our conversation includes:

  • Memories from his competitive days at Rutgers and road racing in Connecticut
  • What has kept him invested in the sport for so long
  • The intangibles he seeks out in prospective athletes above and beyond fast finish times
  • Training strategies and mindset to take your performance to the next level
  • The impact of new technology on the sport

Coach has had such an impact on my running and my career – I know you’ll enjoy our conversation!

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