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Coach H.A. Butler Presidential Scholarship established at Lamar University

The Lamar University Foundation has announced the establishment of a new endowed scholarship. The Coach H.A. Butler Presidential Scholarship will provide funding for full-time incoming freshman students of all majors.

“Establishing a permanently endowed scholarship such as this in honor of a loved one is a wonderful way to honor their memory while also helping generations of Lamar students to pursue their dreams of a college education,” said Laurie Ritchel, associate director of development of university advancement.

The scholarship was originally established in memory of Horace A. Butler, Jr. after his death in June 2002. Butler’s friends and family established a board of directors to create a non-profit corporation, The H.A. Butler Memorial Scholar Athlete Award, Inc., to launch a scholarship in Butler’s honor. In 2012, the organization made the decision to grant the scholarship administration and all of its proceeds to Lamar University.

“I think it’s pretty neat that a foundation that decided to discontinue their operations decided to give it to Lamar,” Ritchel said. “They had nearly $60,000 in assets and traditionally had students apply directly to their organization for the scholarship. After eight years, the board of directors decided to award the money to Lamar to permanently endow a scholarship which will forever honor Coach Butler.”

Butler was born and raised in Beaumont and developed a love for the outdoors at an early age.  He graduated from Beaumont High in 1951, where he excelled as both a football and baseball player. His talents in football landed him a scholarship to the University of Idaho. One long cold winter in Idaho convinced him to transfer to Northwestern University in Natchitoches, La. where he was a standout baseball player. 

He was drafted in1953 by the U.S. Army where he served in Korea as a tank crewman in the demilitarized zone.  After his time in the service, Butler met his wife Floyce “Flo” Sanders, and together had four children.  He graduated from Northwestern University and joined the Beaumont Independent School District coaching staff.  He held several coaching jobs over the years, including Stephen F. Austin Jr. High, Beaumont High and Nederland High School. He coached football, baseball, basketball and golf at various times during his career.

Although not remembered for championships or coach of the year awards, Butler believed that an athlete should also be a well-rounded individual and encouraged students to also do well in the classroom. He admired hard work, respect for authority and a team-player attitude. He emphasized the importance of education to his players because he knew very few athletes would make a career playing sports.

“I think Coach Butler would be proud to know that his legacy of helping others will continue on at Lamar University,” said Ritchel. “I know that the students selected to receive this assistance will be inspired by his story.”

For more information about establishing an endowed scholarship, contact the Lamar University Foundation a t (409) 880-2117.