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Comparison of Mike Wagoner and Jack Butcher numbers after each coach's first 4 years

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The following was written by a man named Stacey Bowling. I found it to be an interesting read so I thought I would post it so those that wish may read it.

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At this time last year, everyone was talking about whether or not Coach Wagoner should be fired. Of course, right now no one is carrying torches and pitchforks, because Wagoner's team brought home a Sectional trophy. Still, as someone who just moved back to the area after a long absence and is blissfully unaware of whatever politics and gossip might have been at play last year, I'm in the pleasant position of being able to look purely at the on-court results.

I've heard people say Mike has been unfairly compared to Jack Butcher. Clearly Jack was one of a kind, and there will never be another like him. Some people say we need to be careful of chasing off coaches in pursuit of the next Butcher. Other people say, "Well, surely we could come closer to Butcher than THIS". Hey, here's an idea: Let's actually COMPARE Mike Wagoner and Jack Butcher, in terms of their on-court success. To make it apples-to-apples, I looked at each man's first four years. Looking much beyond that seems silly Wagoner would have to coach until age 95 to have as many years as varsity coach as Jack had. Butcher truly is one of a kind, never to be matched, because virtually no one stays at ANY job for 45 straight years anymore. Onward to the numbers…

Jack Butcher took over a team that was 11-11 the previous year, and went 11-12 his first year. Mike Wagoner took over a team that had gone 4-18 the previous year, and went 12-9 his first year. Advantage: Wagoner

Butcher won 70.65% of his games over his first four years, going 65-27. Wagoner isn't done with his 4th year yet, but his overall record will be somewhere between 63-24 (if the Lions lose to Evansville Day on Saturday) for a winning percentage of 72.41%, and 67-23 (if the Lions win four more games and take home a state championship) for a winning percentage of 73.63%. Advantage: Wagoner

Butcher's teams lost in the Sectional each of his first three years, before winning a Sectional in his fourth year (subsequently losing the first round of the Regional). Wagoner's teams lost in the Sectional each of his first three years, before winning a Sectional in his fourth year (Regional results TBD). Advantage: Tie.

I also tried to look at records against individual teams in each coach's first four years, but that got messy, because too many consolidations have occurred since 1961. For example, Wagoner's teams play against North Daviess, Barr-Reeve, and Pike Central, where Butcher's teams played against Odon, Montgomery, Petersburg, Elnora, and Plainville. The key differences I found were 1) Butcher was 7-2 against Montgomery while Wagoner is 2-3 against Barr-Reeve (Advantage: Butcher), and 2) Butcher was 1-4 against Odon while Wagoner is 4-2 against North Daviess (Advantage: Wagoner).

Draw whatever conclusions you want, but as far as I can tell, both of these guys look like really promising young coaches, after their first four years.

Edited by 12 in 12'

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Nice job and good info, but is only good for the short term. No way we will be able to compare entire careers, obviously, because no way Wag is around 45 years at Loogootee !!! Wag is already 53 years old. ;) I would also be interested in strength of schedules as the years progressed. I would bet LHS played more 2A, 3A and 4A type schools during Butchers tenure and before this class system. So, even in the long term I think you are comparing apples and oranges. You could probably find allot of coaches thru the years that had better records than Butcher the first 4 years, but did they sustain that for 45 years. I was interested when I looked at the Career Coaching Leaders on John Harrell's website. Does anyone realistically have an opportunity to break Jack's all-time wins ?? When you look at those leaders, gotta consider how old some of the coaches are, how many more years they would realistically coach, and how many wins they would have to average over a certain period of time. I'm not sure how old Brian Hughes is, but found he and Bennett of New Castle may be worth a discussion. Even so, I believe they would have to coach into their late 60's or 70's and average quite a few wins to be considered. I believe Jack averaged 17.9 wins a season for 45 years.

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The following was written by a man named Stacey Bowling. I found it to be an interesting so I thought I would post it so those that wish may read it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------.

At this time last year, everyone was talking about whether or not Coach Wagoner should be fired. Of course, right now no one is carrying torches and pitchforks, because Wagoner's team brought home a Sectional trophy. Still, as someone who just moved back to the area after a long absence and is blissfully unaware of whatever politics and gossip might have been at play last year, I'm in the pleasant position of being able to look purely at the on-court results.

I've heard people say Mike has been unfairly compared to Jack Butcher. Clearly Jack was one of a kind, and there will never be another like him. Some people say we need to be careful of chasing off coaches in pursuit of the next Butcher. Other people say, "Well, surely we could come closer to Butcher than THIS". Hey, here's an idea: Let's actually COMPARE Mike Wagoner and Jack Butcher, in terms of their on-court success. To make it apples-to-apples, I looked at each man's first four years. Looking much beyond that seems silly – Wagoner would have to coach until age 95 to have as many years as varsity coach as Jack had. Butcher truly is one of a kind, never to be matched, because virtually no one stays at ANY job for 45 straight years anymore. Onward to the numbers…

Jack Butcher took over a team that was 11-11 the previous year, and went 11-12 his first year. Mike Wagoner took over a team that had gone 4-18 the previous year, and went 12-9 his first year. Advantage: Wagoner

Butcher won 70.65% of his games over his first four years, going 65-27. Wagoner isn't done with his 4th year yet, but his overall record will be somewhere between 63-24 (if the Lions lose to Evansville Day on Saturday) for a winning percentage of 72.41%, and 67-23 (if the Lions win four more games and take home a state championship) for a winning percentage of 73.63%. Advantage: Wagoner

Butcher's teams lost in the Sectional each of his first three years, before winning a Sectional in his fourth year (subsequently losing the first round of the Regional). Wagoner's teams lost in the Sectional each of his first three years, before winning a Sectional in his fourth year (Regional results TBD). Advantage: Tie.

I also tried to look at records against individual teams in each coach's first four years, but that got messy, because too many consolidations have occurred since 1961. For example, Wagoner's teams play against North Daviess, Barr-Reeve, and Pike Central, where Butcher's teams played against Odon, Montgomery, Petersburg, Elnora, and Plainville. The key differences I found were 1) Butcher was 7-2 against Montgomery while Wagoner is 2-3 against Barr-Reeve (Advantage: Butcher), and 2) Butcher was 1-4 against Odon while Wagoner is 4-2 against North Daviess (Advantage: Wagoner).

Draw whatever conclusions you want, but as far as I can tell, both of these guys look like really promising young coaches, after their first four years.

Good stuff Right on!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Nice job and good info, but is only good for the short term. No way we will be able to compare entire careers, obviously, because no way Wag is around 45 years at Loogootee !!! Wag is already 53 years old. ;) I would also be interested in strength of schedules as the years progressed. I would bet LHS played more 2A, 3A and 4A type schools during Butchers tenure and before this class system. So, even in the long term I think you are comparing apples and oranges. You could probably find allot of coaches thru the years that had better records than Butcher the first 4 years, but did they sustain that for 45 years. I was interested when I looked at the Career Coaching Leaders on John Harrell's website. Does anyone realistically have an opportunity to break Jack's all-time wins ?? When you look at those leaders, gotta consider how old some of the coaches are, how many more years they would realistically coach, and how many wins they would have to average over a certain period of time. I'm not sure how old Brian Hughes is, but found he and Bennett of New Castle may be worth a discussion. Even so, I believe they would have to coach into their late 60's or 70's and average quite a few wins to be considered. I believe Jack averaged 17.9 wins a season for 45 years.

I don't think he was saying that Wagoner is the next Jack Butcher. And I am not either. He was just merely having some fun with some numbers I think and did show that Wagoner has been pretty good in his first 4 years. It makes me wonder if people were unhappy with Jack's performance and wanted him gone after that 3rd season way back when like some did to Wagoner after last season. LOL As you said, we all know Mike Wagoner isn't going to coach for 45 years. This was just a fun read that I found informative. I needed something to read to pass the time until Saturday. GO LIONS!

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Fun or not...I don't know why anyone wants to even go there.

Edited by ACE08

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Maybe Im stating the obvious, but isnt it because of JB that expectations are set so high at LHS. So I doubt they were trying to run JB out of town after 4 years

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Nice job and good info, but is only good for the short term. No way we will be able to compare entire careers, obviously, because no way Wag is around 45 years at Loogootee !!! Wag is already 53 years old. ;) I would also be interested in strength of schedules as the years progressed. I would bet LHS played more 2A, 3A and 4A type schools during Butchers tenure and before this class system. So, even in the long term I think you are comparing apples and oranges. You could probably find allot of coaches thru the years that had better records than Butcher the first 4 years, but did they sustain that for 45 years. I was interested when I looked at the Career Coaching Leaders on John Harrell's website. Does anyone realistically have an opportunity to break Jack's all-time wins ?? When you look at those leaders, gotta consider how old some of the coaches are, how many more years they would realistically coach, and how many wins they would have to average over a certain period of time. I'm not sure how old Brian Hughes is, but found he and Bennett of New Castle may be worth a discussion. Even so, I believe they would have to coach into their late 60's or 70's and average quite a few wins to be considered. I believe Jack averaged 17.9 wins a season for 45 years.

As far as the level of competition in Jack's first 4 years vs today, going by memory I'd say it is much tougher now than then. It wasn't until later in Jack's tenure that Loogootee starting playing some tougher competition. There were also lots more local schools to play in that era as well. In other words instead of playing North Daviess the Lions would have played Odon, Plainville, and Elnora. I don't remember if they played Alfordsville or not, but they may have. I suspect Loogootee was larger than almost everybody they scheduled in those early years.

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The following was written by a man named Stacey Bowling. I found it to be an interesting read so I thought I would post it so those that wish may read it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------.

At this time last year, everyone was talking about whether or not Coach Wagoner should be fired. Of course, right now no one is carrying torches and pitchforks, because Wagoner's team brought home a Sectional trophy. Still, as someone who just moved back to the area after a long absence and is blissfully unaware of whatever politics and gossip might have been at play last year, I'm in the pleasant position of being able to look purely at the on-court results.

I've heard people say Mike has been unfairly compared to Jack Butcher. Clearly Jack was one of a kind, and there will never be another like him. Some people say we need to be careful of chasing off coaches in pursuit of the next Butcher. Other people say, "Well, surely we could come closer to Butcher than THIS". Hey, here's an idea: Let's actually COMPARE Mike Wagoner and Jack Butcher, in terms of their on-court success. To make it apples-to-apples, I looked at each man's first four years. Looking much beyond that seems silly – Wagoner would have to coach until age 95 to have as many years as varsity coach as Jack had. Butcher truly is one of a kind, never to be matched, because virtually no one stays at ANY job for 45 straight years anymore. Onward to the numbers…

Jack Butcher took over a team that was 11-11 the previous year, and went 11-12 his first year. Mike Wagoner took over a team that had gone 4-18 the previous year, and went 12-9 his first year. Advantage: Wagoner

Butcher won 70.65% of his games over his first four years, going 65-27. Wagoner isn't done with his 4th year yet, but his overall record will be somewhere between 63-24 (if the Lions lose to Evansville Day on Saturday) for a winning percentage of 72.41%, and 67-23 (if the Lions win four more games and take home a state championship) for a winning percentage of 73.63%. Advantage: Wagoner

Butcher's teams lost in the Sectional each of his first three years, before winning a Sectional in his fourth year (subsequently losing the first round of the Regional). Wagoner's teams lost in the Sectional each of his first three years, before winning a Sectional in his fourth year (Regional results TBD). Advantage: Tie.

I also tried to look at records against individual teams in each coach's first four years, but that got messy, because too many consolidations have occurred since 1961. For example, Wagoner's teams play against North Daviess, Barr-Reeve, and Pike Central, where Butcher's teams played against Odon, Montgomery, Petersburg, Elnora, and Plainville. The key differences I found were 1) Butcher was 7-2 against Montgomery while Wagoner is 2-3 against Barr-Reeve (Advantage: Butcher), and 2) Butcher was 1-4 against Odon while Wagoner is 4-2 against North Daviess (Advantage: Wagoner).

Draw whatever conclusions you want, but as far as I can tell, both of these guys look like really promising young coaches, after their first four years.

That was a great read! Thanks 12 in 12! Good stuff!

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The point isn't that he's better or worse than Jack Butcher. The point is, the man deserves a lot of credit that he hasn't been given by many up to this point. I'm glad to see Mike win his first sectional, and I hope we aren't done watching this team play after Saturday's regional.

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The point isn't that he's better or worse than Jack Butcher. The point is, the man deserves a lot of credit that he hasn't been given by many up to this point. I'm glad to see Mike win his first sectional, and I hope we aren't done watching this team play after Saturday's regional.

^Like

I agree with you. I think that was the author's point. And a good one at that IMO.

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Maybe Im stating the obvious, but isnt it because of JB that expectations are set so high at LHS. So I doubt they were trying to run JB out of town after 4 years

You hit the nail on the head.

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As far as the level of competition in Jack's first 4 years vs today, going by memory I'd say it is much tougher now than then. It wasn't until later in Jack's tenure that Loogootee starting playing some tougher competition. There were also lots more local schools to play in that era as well. In other words instead of playing North Daviess the Lions would have played Odon, Plainville, and Elnora. I don't remember if they played Alfordsville or not, but they may have. I suspect Loogootee was larger than almost everybody they scheduled in those early years.

No we weren't larger than everyone on our schedule. Your fogetting the obvious, Loogootee had two high schools through '68-'69. Loogootee Public and St. John's both were around 175-200 range. I know Odon and Montgomery were about same enrollment.

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No we weren't larger than everyone on our schedule. Your fogetting the obvious, Loogootee had two high schools through '68-'69. Loogootee Public and St. John's both were around 175-200 range. I know Odon and Montgomery were about same enrollment.

Loogootee was larger than Odon and Montgomery and St John's. Not by a lot, I'll grant you. I probably have an annual from that time, I'll have to look up the schedule as I have doubtless forgotten some of the schools on the schedule at that time.

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Loogootee was larger than Odon and Montgomery and St John's. Not by a lot, I'll grant you. I probably have an annual from that time, I'll have to look up the schedule as I have doubtless forgotten some of the schools on the schedule at that time.

I know from 1950-69 when St.John's high school was coed that some years St.John's had more students, some Loogootee Public. I wish I had access to enrollments from those days, but i'd bet Odon & Montgomery were pretty even. I know the year Alfordsville closed, they only had 40 in the high school, so they didn't contribute much to Montgomery's enrollment.

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Original author here - so much for forum anonymity...smile.gif Sorry this is so long...

As far as schedules go, here's who Loogootee played in 1960-61, Butcher's fourth year, the year he won his first Sectional. The Lions played against:

Worthington

Shawswick

Oolitic

Shoals (3 times)

Washington Catholic (2 times)

Montgomery (2 times)

Springs Valley

Petersburg

Orleans

Odon

Winslow

Dubois

Elnora

Plainville

Switz City

Bloomfield

Alfordsville

Washington

Jasper

Only Washington and Jasper impress me as being particularly larger than Loogootee, although I suppose Petersburg probably was, too. I suspect several of the other opponents were also "a little larger", more or less equivalent to 2A and the larger end of the 1A range today. This was also the first time LHS defeated Washington, EVER. If you compare this year's schedule...

Wood Memorial {1A}

Fern Creek (Ky.) {would be 4A}

Evansville Harrison {4A}

Forest Park {2A}

South Knox {2A}

Pike Central {3A}

Vincennes Rivet {1A}

Washington {3A}

Shoals {1A} (2 times)

North Daviess {1A}

Barr-Reeve {1A} (2 times)

Bloomfield {2A}

Northeast Dubois {1A}

White River Valley {1A}

Springs Valley {1A}

Southridge {2A}

Orleans {1A}

Washington Catholic {1A}

Jasper {3A}

North Knox {2A}

Evansville Day {1A}

You see two 4A schools, three 3A schools, five 2A schools, and the two largest schools is 1A (Northeast Dubois and Springs Valley). If you think back to the Butcher days and seem to recall MUCH tougher schedules, you might be remembering years like 1979-80, one of the toughest schedules LHS ever played (especially considering that they lost in the Sectional). That year, LHS played both Columbus schools (both 4A now), both Bloomington schools (both 4A), Bedford North Lawrence (4A), and Vincennes, Pike Central, and Washington (all 3A). That was an incredible schedule and an incredible team.

To the discussion of what my original point was, it was simply that if you forget everything you think you know and just look at a snapshot of both of these coaches' first four years, they both look like keepers, at least to me. I do want to mention one difference that I did not consider: When Butcher took over as coach in 1957, LHS had only won 5 Sectionals (1939, 1948-51), and none since Jack's senior year as a player. When Wagoner took over, LHS had a long and proud tradition (mostly because of Jack). As a result, a person could argue that in some ways, Wagoner might have had a better "mental foundation" to build on, than Jack did. The community was "ready to win", and knew what winning required and felt like.

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Thanks for posting that - it's about how I remember it. I assume Jasper was a regional game, as I don't think they played them regular season then. Also, I assume Washington and Alfordsville were sectional games as I don't think they would have been season opponents then either. I would have guessed they would have played Ireland as I remember going there several times.

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Schools in those days were closer, smaller, and therefore made more sense to schedule and play. Consolidations and times, most notably "class" has changed it. Before "class" was forced upon a tradition rich basketball state, small schools played lots of the big boys during the season, not just tourney time.

Edited by ACE08

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Fun or not...I don't know why anyone wants to even go there.

I see nothing wrong with this and think also it's good info. Maybe you don't see why one would go there but people in this area know that is the 'grand comparison' whether

fair, right, or wrong and this comparison is interesting to me. Not that it would change my opinion one way or another (if I was in the Loogootee system) but I thought it was a good read. mho

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Maybe Im stating the obvious, but isnt it because of JB that expectations are set so high at LHS. So I doubt they were trying to run JB out of town after 4 years

Unless I am missing a point here, I respectfully disagree. It is all about JB and expectations as a result of his success at LHS. When you get used to winning out of the norm, it is difficult to go back to mediocre. That is by no means meant as a negative toward Wagoner. Obviously there are many factors which enter in. It is just pretty much a fact that the success JB had during his career is not the 'run of the mill'. For anyone to immediately expect the success of JB to be repeated or continued in such a short timeframe as Wagoner has been at the helm is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Will he ever get there? I think he possibly could but it will take some time. Others think he never will. So, there u go....differences of opinion. Who woulda ever thunk that? (lol)

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Unless I am missing a point here, I respectfully disagree. It is all about JB and expectations as a result of his success at LHS. When you get used to winning out of the norm, it is difficult to go back to mediocre. That is by no means meant as a negative toward Wagoner. Obviously there are many factors which enter in. It is just pretty much a fact that the success JB had during his career is not the 'run of the mill'. For anyone to immediately expect the success of JB to be repeated or continued in such a short timeframe as Wagoner has been at the helm is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Will he ever get there? I think he possibly could but it will take some time. Others think he never will. So, there u go....differences of opinion. Who woulda ever thunk that? (lol)

Godogs....I was missing your point. Sorry, read wayyyyyyyyyy to quick so forget everything I said above...lol

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