Courtesy of Arizona Christian Athletics – Link

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Michael Butterfield has been selected as the second head coach in the history of the ACU wrestling program.


His tenure began earlier today, and he is already looking forward to leading the Firestorm wrestling program saying, “I’d like to thank Arizona Christian University for this opportunity.  I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to coach, and to build a culture of hard work and dedication.”


An Illinois native, Butterfield’s coaching career began unexpectedly as a student-athlete at the University of Dubuque, an NCAA Division III institution in Dubuque, Iowa.  After sustaining a series of shoulder injuries after his first season of wrestling for the Spartans, the 149-pound class wrestler decided to step away from the mat as a grappler, but returned in a new role – as a coach.


That first opportunity to coach was given to Butterfield by current Spartan’s Head Coach Jon McGovern, who has led the UD wrestling program since 2002.  McGovern saw promise in his first-year wrestler and promoted Butterfield to the position of Student Assistant Wrestling Coach.


Under McGovern, Butterfield learned not only what it takes to be successful on the mat, but he also learned meaningful lessons of what it takes to develop wrestlers as high-character people.  Along with McGovern’s sage advice, Butterfield credits his time working with W.R.E.S.T. (wrestling reflection education skills training), while at UD, as a cornerstone of his development as a person and coach.


“W.R.E.S.T. helps athletes reflect on their wrestling, academics, spiritual life, and personal life,” said Butterfield. “I worked closely with Coach McGovern to develop mindset activities and strategies that would help our wrestlers prepare at a very high level.”


That hard work and dedication helped Butterfield to graduate in 2015 with a degree in physical education with a focus in health education K-12, and in 2015, he moved to the Valley of the Sun in order to begin a teaching and coaching career at Paradise Valley High School.  There, he was a special needs educator while also serving as the high school’s head wrestling coach.  During his coaching stint, the Trojans had 26 state qualifiers, four All-State wrestlers, and two Arizona State Champions.


ACU Director of Athletic, Dr. Peter Dryer, had this to say about the addition of Butterfield, “Coach Butterfield is a great fit for ACU Wrestling.  He has a great sense for team-building, establishing culture and skill development.  He is passionate about the sport of wrestling and loves coaching his student-athletes.  We are excited for him to continue the development of our wrestling program at ACU!”


Butterfield, along with his wife and two small children reside in the Greater-Phoenix area.  He and his wife are avid runners and also enjoy hiking and spending time with family.

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