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Boys cross country coach of the year: Tim Butler, Dana Hills
For better or worse, all good things must come to an end.
Before the start of this season, his 43rd as the coach of the Dana Hills boys cross country team, Tim Butler knew he would be stepping down when the season ended.
What he did not know was that he would have the fastest team in the program’s history, leading to a great many accomplishments.
The Dolphins were the top team in the county. They won a record seventh Orange County Championship, overtaking Costa Mesa as the all-time leader in wins.
As much as he hates losing, Butler will tell you that a successful season is about much more than titles won.
“I think that one of the things that is emphasized (in the program) on a regular basis is that success is not winning,” he said. “Real success is somehow getting these kids to perform at their greatest potential. In other words, it’s getting them to give their 100 percent.”
Maximizing the potential of his team is what made Butler the Register’s boys cross country coach of the year.
The Dolphins had three elite runners in Mason Coppi, Jake Ogden and Jack Landgraf. Brandon Hough was a solid No. 4. The fifth spot was interchangeable, as Colin Stein, Thomas Wilfert and John Turner took turns stepping up to fill the role.
Dana Hills produced school records for team time at the Mt. San Antonio College, Irvine Regional Park, and Woodwark Park courses.
In the end, one feat trumped the rest. After Dana Hills was runner-up at the CIF-SS Finals and the CIF State meet, finishing behind national champion Great Oak of Temecula both times, the Mustangs earned a spot at the Nike Cross Nationals, where they placed third.
“To go out like this is like a movie,” Butler said. “It’s the way that any coach would want to finish their career.”