SHREWSBURY – Before he could walk, Ian Butterfield was watching his father Charlie Butterfield coach the David Prouty High School track team.
“I remember the high school athletes at the time throwing me on the high jump mats,” Ian said.
Now, years later Ian himself is the boys varsity indoor track coach at Shrewsbury High School. He was recently named the 2021-2022 MIAA coach of the year among the 27 Massachusetts high school coaches.
“To me it is just a recognition of our program as a whole. Our staff is amazing and I am fortunate to work with great kids,” Ian said.
A family tradition
In high school, Ian said he ran the 400 x 400 meter relay race and grew to love the sport.
Butterfield recalled a fond memory of running the 4 x 400 meter relay race with his teammates and finishing the race in three minutes and 35 seconds.
“It was pretty good at the time, but I have had athletes run a 3:24 here, so they are really good,” he said.
When he was in high school, Charlie timed his track meets, which he said allowed him to grow closer with his son.
“Then, he started timing with me,” Charlie said.
According to Charlie, Ian’s career as a teacher and coach “happened naturally.” He shaped himself into the coach he is today, Charlie said.
Ian, who is a physical education teacher at Shrewsbury High School and assistant football coach, began his coaching career as the assistant rowing coach in 1998 while he was a student teacher.
He then began coaching the outdoor boys track team as well as the indoor track team. However, after 10 years, he took a break from coaching indoor track to spend more time with his family. He returned to coach the team last year.
The small victories that the athletes enjoy each day is what makes him excited to be back with the team.
“Small gains lead up to big accomplishments at the end of the season,” he said.
Ian said the greatest piece of advice he received from his father is to “never give up on a kid” because high school athletes improve at different levels.
He said he tries to provide the best program for his athletes and is constantly “on a mission to make every kid better.”
“I try to get them to the end of their senior year, ahead of where they came in,” he said.
Ian added, “I love everything about track. There is something for everyone.”
Ian passes on his own words of wisdom to the Shrewsbury track team.
“Any sport, it doesn’t matter what it is, you are in the spotlight. You got that one chance, that one race, that one moment. We just try to have them be in that moment and do whatever they need to do to perform and thrive and not just survive,” he said.
Butterfield added, however, that he teaches his athletes “no moment is bigger than them, unless they make it that way.”
Ian Butterfield named coach of the year
Shrewsbury High School Athletic Director Jason Costa nominated him for the award.
Costa said he nominated Ian because of his passion for track and field and his ability to build relationships with his team.
“His new ideas and philosophies he uses with his athletes allows for them to develop into fine young men. These skills are all lifelong lessons,” he said.
Ian said, “It’s really, really humbling that someone would take the time to recognize me and the fact that the MIAA selected me is just awesome.”
Charlie said his son being named MIAA coach of the year is an honor that is well-deserved.
“He did a great job,” he said.
The captains of the track team said Ian is deserving of the recognition.
Niko Manolkos said his recognition was “necessary” because he “puts the work in day in and day out.”
Declan Daley said Ian being named a MIAA coach of the year is a “testament to the whole program.”
“He is an innovative coach. He’s helping move the sport forward,” Daley said.