New Women's Coach: "It's A Dream Come True''
GAINESVILLE - Amanda Butler officially took over the reigns as the women's basketball coach Tuesday afternoon, saying she was honored to be a part of the program and would work hard to make the Gators successful again.
"I feel very humbled and very blessed to be here,'' Butler said Tuesday afternoon. . . ."I had an idea what I was going to feel when I got up here today. To say it's a dream come true doesn't even get there.''
Butler will receive a six-year contract, earning approximately $300,000 per year.
"It's a proud day. We're welcoming one of our own back,'' UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said.
Butler, 35, played four seasons at Florida, then spent two as an assistant under former coach Carol Ross. She has 12 years of college coaching experience. She comes to UF after two seasons as head coach at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she compiled a 40-22 record and led her teams to consecutive WNIT appearances. In her first season, she was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.
"I think she's a perfect fir tof the University of Florida at this time.''
Butler was hired on Friday, then spent Saturday and Sunday recruiting. She met with her new Florida players on Tuesday afternoon, and will throw out the first pitch at Wednesday's softball game against UCF.
Butler credited Ross, who spent 12 seasons as the Gators' coach, with being instrumental in her career, and acknowledged she had talked to the current Ole Miss coach at length before accepting the Florida job.
Butler said she views the UF program as one that can become successful again, over time.
"There's so secret to success,'' she said. "It's through time, it's through hard work. . . There are a lot of different ways you can look at it. I seem them as opportunities and challenges.''
Butler opened her press conference Tuesday by thanking her parents, who were in attendance, and telling a humorous story.
"My mom text messaged me and said everybody in the neighborhood had gotten together (Friday night) and toasted me - with Gatorade of course,'' Butler said.