Holy Trinity moving forward after dismissal of cross country coach


Doug Butler (far left), shown here taking a run during his Set Goals, Not Limits Running Camp, won 20 state championships in 15 years at Holy Trinity, was dismissed from his job as coach and teacher at the school on Nov. 25.

Despite outrage from students and parents over the dismissal of cross country coach Doug Butler, Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy is in the process of searching for his successor.

Butler, who won 20 state cross country and track & field championships in 15 years at the school, was fired on Nov. 25. Saying it fell under the purview of a personnel move, the school did not divulge a reason for the move.

In addition to coaching, Butler also taught psychology.

A group of parents and students protested the move outside the school on Monday, and according to a website there are plans to do it again Thursday.

Supporters of Coach Butler have also established a link at gofundme.com in order to raise money to keep their beloved coach from finding another job before what they hope will be his return to the Tigers’ program. 

As of noon Tuesday, the site listed 79 donors who had contributed $16,890 to the fund. Donors included a number of Holy Trinity students, parents and others from the running community, many of whom posted messages of support.

School spokesperson Brandy Bean, however, wrote in an email that “there is a search in progress” for a new coach that would take over the Tigers’ track & field program this spring. The search process, Bean said, will involve student and parent representation to “assure we continue and build on Holy Trinity’s remarkable program.”

The school also issued a statement that would seem to put an end to any speculation about Butler’s possible return.

“This is a confidential personnel matter involving the employment termination of one teacher and coach, Doug Butler,” the statement read. “This action, unanimously supported by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, is final.  

“Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy is strong academically, athletically and, most of all, spiritually. The school is a group of caring professionals and families who are dedicated to providing an exceptional education, mind, body, and spirit, and to maintaining a culture we know as the Holy Trinity Way.    

“The focus of our administration and faculty, in partnership with our parents, is to provide a safe environment in which our students can engage in their growth. Our children will experience disappointment in life. Parents and educators have a responsibility to help children to navigate such challenges with grace and dignity, learning resiliency.”

Whomever Holy Trinity brings in to replace Butler will have no margin for error.

Just last month, the boys cross country team won its fourth consecutive Class 1A state championship, while the girls won their second straight state title. The girls track & field team also won the state championship last year.