Credit: Aaron Bobeck
We’ll start with the manager, Frank Butcher, and then get to know assistant coaches Casey Derkacz and John Grabowski a bit better.
What was the most appealing part of taking the FCB job?
Frank Butcher: “I believe it is important in life to keep challenging yourself and to switch up your routine. I am excited to work with a new level of players and to work with Casey and John, I hope in the end it will make me a better coach and teacher.”
What are you most excited about when it comes to coaching FCB?
FB: “I miss the high level of competition I experienced I was both playing and coaching in college. It will be great to get to work with such talented players and knowledgeable coaches again.”
Is there a game or date you are most looking forward to this summer?
FB: “There are three dates that I am really looking forward to as the season approaches. First: Our first practice. Ever since I got the job, I have been excited to get started. I can’t wait for the players to get here, so we can get to work.
“Second is our home opener on May 20th against Dayton. We have a great staff, a great group of players coming in and I am excited to see if our offseason work pays off.
“Third is our first playoff game. I feel that, with the pieces we have in place, we can definitely get there!”
What qualities do you look for in an ideal FCB player?
“My ideal player is one that works as hard as possible at all times. I don’t mind mistakes, but I can’t stand a lack of effort. I want a player who works hard to make up for the mistakes he makes and also works hard to lift up his teammates when they make a mistake.”
When it comes to thinking about the game, what’s changed the most for you since your playing days?
“My approach to the game has definitely changed a lot. When I first started teaching and coaching, I wanted every student and player to be exactly like me. As the years have gone by I have learned that my way of doing things is not the only way and doesn’t work for everyone. I have become better at incorporating different styles and utilizing each person’s strengths.”
Who have been the biggest influences on your coaching career?
“My high school coach Jeff Hoerner laid a great foundation for me. I learned how to create a team atmosphere of hard work and players that hold each other accountable.
“In college John Astudillo taught me a lot about game planning and changing tactics to fit strengths and weaknesses of your team and your opponent.
“I also have to give tons of credit to coaches from my youth like Jeff Lewis, Dave Kreger, and Henrik Ambarchian. Each of those coaches opened my eyes to seeing different parts of the game. I also have to give tons of credit to guys I have worked with after my playing days like Pete Kuehne, Jim and Dave Hesch, and Ernie Buriano. They have showed me how to run practices and how to improve the skills of my teams.
“Lastly I have to give credit to my Grand Island coaching family; Matt Waddington, Brian Ailinger, and Rom Figler for helping me to turn a program into a family and making me a better coach every time we are out on the practice field.”
Who do you admire in the world of coaching, and why?
“Coaching is often a thankless job. It is so easy to second guess decisions and strategies. I admire anyone who opens themselves up to that kind of criticism. I also admire any coach who puts an emphasis on not only getting the most out of their players on the field, but also trying to make them better people in life. For those reasons, I really admire all the coaches that I listed earlier for helping me to become a better player, coach, and person.”