The University of the District of Columbia Coach Lester Butler.Courtesy Photo
The University of the District of Columbia is proud to announce that Lester Butler, head coach of the womenâ€™s basketball team, has been named 2009 National Coach of the Year for Division II (Women). Butler was chosen through a nationwide fan poll conducted by the Heritage Sports Radio Network (HRSN). Results were released this week.
National Coach of the Year for Lester Butler is a fitting end to one of the most successful seasons in Firebird history. Under Butler, the Firebirds spent most of the 2008-2009 season nationally ranked, reaching a peak of No. 16 on the USA Today ESPN Division II Coachesâ€™ Top 25 Poll. They finished the regular season with a 24-4 record and ranked 20th among NCAA Division II schools. They were No. 8 in the Atlantic region. The Firebirds participated in the 2009 Independent Womenâ€™s Basketball Tournament in St. Augustine, Florida, winning both games.
But as head coach, Butlerâ€™s greatest success may have been guiding the Firebirds to a coveted at-large bid to the NCAA Division II tournament, the first in team history. They were among 42 teams nationwide who received at-large bids to the â€œbig dance.â€ The University of the District of Columbia Womenâ€™s Basketball team concluded their winning season with a 24-5 record, after a loss to California University of Pennsylvania in the NCAA Division II tournament.
â€œIt is a real honor to be named National Coach of the Year for Division II (women),â€ Coach Lester Butler says. â€œBut this award really honors the unforgettable season these young ladies have had. Their success on and off the court is what coaches dream of.â€ He continues, â€œIâ€™m proud to coach the Lady Firebirds.â€
Coach Butler was named the head coach of the University of the District of Columbia Womenâ€™s Basketball team in 2003. Prior to becoming head coach for the Firebirds, he served as the assistant coach. He began his coaching career at Virginia Union University, his alma mater, as a volunteer assistant. He was also a star basketball player at Virginia Union, where he guided his team to three CIAA championships and the NCAA Division II Final Four. He was team captain from 1994 to 1996.