Posted on Sat, Jan. 08, 2005

H.S. Football

GNA coach steps down
Butczynski won 2 games in 2 years
By JOHN ERZAR
jerzar@leader.net

Len Butczynski spent the past four years trying to rebuild the Greater Nanticoke Area football program.
On Friday afternoon, Butczynski decided he won't be back for a fifth season. He resigned after a second consecutive 1-9 season.

"I've been mulling it over the last couple of weeks about giving it up," said Butczynski, who cited family considerations for the reason he resigned.

Nanticoke Athletic Director Jerry Bavitz said early Friday afternoon that Butczynski was considering resigning and expected a decision next week.

However, Butczynski handed in his resignation to Bavitz later in the day, then spoke to about six players who were participating in off-season weight lifting.

"I grew up there my whole life and played there," said Butczynski, a 1986 Nanticoke graduate who compiled a 9-31 record. "It was a heartbreaking decision."

Nanticoke School Board President Bob Raineri said he wasn't surprised with Butczynski's resignation.

"I think he was frustrated because he doesn't have that many students to work with; he's only got 20-some players every year," Raineri said. "That's hard to work with, those small numbers, and compete. Maybe (the resignation) was caused by frustration and a couple of years of not winning."

Several opposing coaches have praised Butczynski for his game plans and coaching. However, Nanticoke's roster never topped 30 players throughout his four years, making for difficult situations in practices and games.

"It was very tough," Butczynski said. "Football is a game of injuries. You'd get injuries and not have enough for practice. A lot of times, me and my assistant coaches would be out there. I'd play quarterback, the assistant coaches would play wide receivers. We'd have garbage cans set up for defensive linemen.

"It gets to the point where you can only do so much."

Butczynski spent five years as the offensive coordinator at Crestwood before becoming head coach at Nanticoke. The Trojans finished 1-9 in his first year and improved to 6-4 in 2002. It was only the second time the program had a winning record in the past 10 years.

Nanticoke was 1-9 this season and finished last among 16 Wyoming Valley Conference teams in points scored (81) and points allowed (375). The Trojans' only victory came in the season opener, a 13-12 victory against Bishop Hafey.

"No one complained of his coaching to me, anyway," Raineri said. "I felt he was very dedicated and always with the kids and working with them in the weight room. I feel for him."

The next school board meeting is Thursday. Raineri said the school would like to have a new coach hired at the February or March meeting.

Butczynski, a middle school teacher at Wyoming Valley West, said he wasn't opposed to coaching again. He recently applied for the opening at Pittston Area and interviewed for the post. He has been contacted by other head coaches about joining their staffs.

"I'm going to take some time off, enjoy my two sons and see what happens from there. I really don't know yet."

Trojan Sports