Tom Butters
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 12/14/2005
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Director of Athletics, 1977-98
Founder Iron Dukes Organization
Baseball Coach, 1968-70

Tom Butters retied from Duke in 1998 after 30 years at the university, the last 20 as the Director of Athletics.

A former professional baseball pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Butters came to Duke in 1967 as Director of Special Events. He was the Blue Devils baseball coach from 1968-70, later founded the Iron Dukes Organization and moved into the AD's chair in 1977.

Known as a champion fundraiser, he led the way in updating several facilities that hadn't been touched since they were first erected in the 1930s and 40s. He was known as a no-nonsense administrator who, while serving on the NCAA Basketball Committee, was instrumental in negotiating its $1 billion deal with CBS.

His Duke trademark may have been his insistence on absolute integrity in every facet of the athletics operation. That commitment to excellence took the Blue Devil program to the height of excellence on and off the playing surface. The 1986 men's soccer squad won the school's first ever national championship while the 1991 and 1992 men's basketball teams soon followed with the gold trophy. Duke annually graduated over 95 percent of its student athletes during Butters' regime, highlighted by the football program earning the nation's most outstanding graduation rate nine times.


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