The Butler Golden Tornado football team accomplished something this season that nobody thought possible: make the WPIAL playoffs. Clyde Conti, in just his third season as head coach, has a lot to do with that.
From my understanding, the culture of the Butler football program was negative and poorly managed prior to Conti’s arrival. To compete in the WPIAL and have success, football teams need their best athletes on the field and at Butler that wasn’t happening.
As far as I know, that could still not be the case, but a coach can make all of the difference in the world.
When Jim Rankin, a longtime coach with a successful WPIAL resume, was hired to lead the Golden Tornado, many people thought he could turn the Butler program around. He lasted just one season.
However, when Conti was hired, very few in Butler knew what to expect. I had confidence in Conti.
He has had success at every school he has been head coach. He spent many years as the coach at Clarion Limestone, made a brief stop in Slippery Rock and now has led Butler into the playoffs for the first time since 1998.
Conti knows how to win, and if the Butler School District is smart, it will try to keep Conti.
I graduated from Slippery Rock High School in 2004, and for two seasons I was able to watch Conti-coached teams have success on Friday nights.
He is a good coach and an even better person.
I would like to wish Butler and Conti success the rest of the way this season, and I hope for even better things in the future.