Lester "Jay" Butler, Jr., will be named the 10th Head Coach in the history of Virginia Union University men's basketball at a press conference at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, in the lecture hall of the L. Douglas Wilder Library on the VUU campus in Richmond, Va.
One of the top coaches in the East Region, University of the District of Columbia head women's basketball coach Butler has enjoyed outstanding success at the Division II level over a career that has spanned 11 seasons. Since his hiring in 2003, Butler changed both the perception and quality of the District of Columbia women's basketball program. Bringing stability, vision and a love for the game, Butler earned the respect of his opponents and establishing Firebird women's basketball as a competitive force in Division II.
In his 11 seasons as head coach at UDC, Butler amassed 177 wins, two Independent Collegiate Athletic Association (ICAA) national championships, ECC Coach of the Year, ECC regular-season champions, two ICAA Coach of the Year awards and four NCAA Tournament appearances.
He enjoyed his finest season in 2014-15 when the Firebirds registered a school-record 25 wins and a No. 22 national ranking for the season. Butler guided the Firebirds to their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance last season with a school-record third seed in the East Region.
In 2007-08 and in 2008-09, UDC was a combined 45-13 as it went on to win two straight ICAA Division II National Championships. The team also won a school-record 19 straight games at home, starting with the final six home games in 2007-08 and ending with a perfect 13-0 home record in 2008-09.
Butler's 2010-11 campaign saw UDC go 19-9 and finish the season by celebrating "Senior Day" with an 84-60 trumping of the Urbana University Blue Knights for third place in the 2011 Independent Invitational Women's Basketball Classic.
The Firebirds finished the 2011-12 season with a record of 21-7 overall and 12-4 in its first season in the ECC. They would also earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 8 seed in the East Region before bowing out to No. 1 seed and host, Bentley University.
Butler and the Firebirds enjoyed one of the program's finest seasons in 2013-14. UDC finished with an impressive overall record of 21-8, securing the school's first ever East Coast Conference basketball championship and earning an NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament appearance as a No. 5 seed. Along the way, the Firebirds were ranked as high as No. 20 in the USA Today Women's Basketball Coaches' Association Poll and No. 3 in the East Region. Also, junior guard Telisha Turner and junior forward Denikka Brent were both named First Team All-ECC, Turner surpassed 1,000 points scored for her career, and head coach Lester Butler, Jr. celebrated his 150th career coaching win on Senior Night, February 26th vs. Dowling.
Butler coached five 1,000-point scorers at UDC including Jaime Brown ('06), Lilian McGill ('11) and Lauren Brittingam ('12) in addition to Turner and Denikka Brent in 2014-15. Brown was the first-ever 1,000-point scorer in the history of the program, and accomplished the feat in just three years' time. McGill finished her outstanding four-year career with over 1,400 points and 1,100 rebounds. She was a part of 78 UDC wins throughout her career, which is the most of any player under Butler.
Butler began his coaching career at Virginia Union as a volunteer assistant while he finished his undergraduate degree working with the team's guards from 1996-98. After graduating from Virginia Union, Butler served as head junior varsity and assistant varsity coach at Bladensburg High from 1999-2001.
Prior to becoming head coach at UDC, he served as an assistant coach for two seasons. He was responsible for travel, scouting, working with the guards, pre-season conditioning, academic coordinating, and various other duties. He also served as the recruiting coordinator and signed four Junior College All-Americans, a 2nd-Team All-ICAA selection, and a 1,000-point career scorer in his short stint as assistant at UDC.
A 1998 graduate of Virginia Union University with a degree in criminal justice, Butler played for legendary coach Dave Robbins, and was a key member of the Panther basketball program. He helped Virginia Union capture three straight CIAA championships and make four NCAA Division II appearances. In 1996, Butler's senior season, he guided the team to the NCAA Division II Final Four. Butler finished his career at Virginia Union 107-14 won-loss record. Butler served as team captain from (1994-1996).
A native of Washington D.C., Butler graduated from Archbishop Carroll High in 1992 where he earned All-Metro honors and Honorable Mention All-American.