Lex Butler, a former All-American at the University of Colorado and a former assistant coach with the Buffs and at the U.S. Naval Academy, was named the first head coach in Penmen women's track and field history on September 16, 2014. His responsibilities also now include oversight of the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country programs at SNHU.
“Lex stood out from a strong field of candidates for the position,” said SNHU Director of Athletics and Recreation Anthony Fallacaro upon Butler's hiring. “He will bring instant credibility to our program with his experience as a coach at Colorado and at the Naval Academy, as well as his experience competing at a high level as a student-athlete. With his experience and contacts, Lex will be able to recruit not just in the Northeast, but nationally, as we seek to build a track program on par with many of our other programs that have enjoyed success at the regional and national levels.”
“I want to thank Director of Athletics Anthony Fallacaro and Associate Directors of Athletics Tom Wilkins and Tricia Cote for seeing value in what I can bring to the SNHU athletic department. I am truly honored and thoroughly excited for the opportunity to build the women’s track and field program and compete at a high level. Coming from a great program like CU, I have been able to learn from top-flight coaches about what it takes to put together a nationally-competitive program,” said Butler. “It takes time to build a team from scratch the right way. However, I expect our team to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact in the region. My focus is to build a team that wants to put in the work to be the best.”
Over the past 18 years, Butler has transitioned from a Division I track and field All-American to a nationally-respected coach. He has an extensive list of Pac-12 and Patriot League champions that he has coached, as well as multiple NCAA regional and national qualifiers.
At its starting mark in 2015, track and field was only offered at the club level at Southern New Hampshire, but was offered as an outdoor program in 2016. Finally, in 2017, track and field saw the start of its indoor and outdoor teams. In 2018, SNHU opened its doors to a brand new state-of-the-art track and field facility located at Penmen Stadium and the team hosted its first meet that season.
Women's Track & Field senior Ashley Elder wrapped up a stellar outdoor career with a 20th place finish in the shotput at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships early in 2019. Earlier in the year, Elder became the first SNHU athlete to qualify for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The SNHU Men’s Cross Country team earned its first trip to the NCAA Division II National Championships in Pittsburgh in November of 2018. That followed a fourth-place finish at the NCAA East Regionals. Two runners, Nacho Hernando-Angulo in 2015 and 2016, and Tyler McLaren in 2017, have qualified individually for the NCAA Championship since Coach Butler arrived on campus. Hernando and McLaren were named All-Region in both 2015 and 2016 by the U.S. Track & field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), McLaren and Micah Hewitson were named All-Region in 2017, and Hewitson was joined on the team by Cedric Joslin and Michael Moreno in 2018.
The Southern New Hampshire University women’s cross country team has also seen tremendous success, with five All-NE10 selections as well as four USTFCCCA All-East Region performances. At the NE10 Championships, SNHU finished 2017 in seventh place and then finished sixth in 2018. Among the program honor recipients are Laura O’ Hanlon in 2015 and 2016 and Jill Couto in 2017 and 2018.
At Colorado, Butler worked primarily with the Buffs’ sprinters and short and long hurdlers. In two seasons, he coached the women’s 200-meter and 400-meter school record holders, the men’s 200-meter school record holder, and regional qualifiers for both men and women in the 4x400 relay. Holding USATF Level II certification in jumps, sprints, hurdles and relays, he also instituted event-specific weight training programs and assisted with home meet management.
“SNHU is getting an excellent coach in Lex Butler. He is technically knowledgeable, meticulous, and patient. I am, at once, sad to lose him, but excited to see him take the next step in his career,” said Mark Wetmore, who has coached track and field at Colorado since 1995.
Butler had a highly-decorated career at Colorado 1998-2002, and still holds the program record in the indoor 60-meter hurdles, set at the 2000 Big 12 Indoor Championship to capture the conference title. Later that season, he earned All-America status with a ninth-place finish in the preliminary rounds at nationals. Butler is one of the top hurdlers all-time at Colorado, owning the third best 55-meter indoor time in program history as well as the top nine 60-meter performances. Outdoors, he is the third-best performer in the 110-hurdles, posting the fifth through ninth-fastest times in CU annals. He earned several All-Conference honors and was a two-time CU Athlete of the Week.
“Having been an All-American at CU, I knew what it took to be a champion. My goal is to impart that knowledge and experience onto these student-athletes,” said Butler.
Butler’s coaching career began at the United States Naval Academy from 2003-2007, where he worked as an assistant coach working with sprints and short and long hurdles. While in Annapolis, he coached six Midshipmen to nine Patriot League hurdles titles, five athletes to jump championships, and coached Navy student-athletes to 13 school records for sprints, hurdles, jumps and relays.
A native of Mansfield, Texas, Butler graduated from Colorado in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned his master’s in Sport Management/Event Management from George Washington University in 2008.
“We cannot succeed on the track without succeeding in the classroom,” added Butler. As a team, we want to grow upon the highest standards already set at SNHU academically and athletically. That will be a cornerstone for this program.”