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Monmouth Women’s Basketball Assistant, Janet Butler, named to WBCA Thirty Under Thirty List

A dad’s passion for basketball, LSU basketball and Pete Maravich helped inspire his daughter to hit the courts.  Women’s basketball provided a foundation for Louisiana native Janet Butler to bring her talent to Nevada and now to New Jersey as Asst. Women’s Head Coach for Monmouth University.

Butler has been recognized by the WBCA’s Thirty Under Thirty.  As a staff writer and Jersey Shore, native I spent a few minutes learning about Coach Butler’s journey.

Coach, thanks for spending a few minutes with us today; let’s go back a bit, what high school did you attend?

A: West Ouachita, LA West Monroe, LA

How was that team?

A: We had a scrappy team that competed hard.  The best part of my high school experience was the coaching, they helped me improve and further my passion for the game.  By the time my career was over I scored over 1,000 points and started to hear from a few colleges.

Did you play any other sports?

A: Yes, I ran track.  I started with running the 800 and then moved to 2mile races. It wasn’t about being a track star, it was about building endurance for basketball.

Where did your passion for basketball start?

At an early age I loved the sport, I loved shooting around in the driveway with my dad, who played JUCO ball.  I remember my first team, it was in 5th grade when finally, our town had a girl’s league.  That same year, I also went to my first college game LA Tech vs. UConn.  The energy in the arena was incredible.

I said to myself “This is what I want to do” and I love the Lady Techsters to this day!

What attracted you to Louisiana College?

A: I felt comfortable in D3 environment.  The first coach that recruited me moved along, but I was joining a team that would include a bunch of girls that I’d played AAU ball with so, we knew we how to play the game with one another.

Then Coach Janice Joseph-Rishard stepped in to lead our team.  Coach Joseph-Rishard was a former standout in Louisiana women’s basketball.

Coach Rishard is my inspiration, sadly she lost her battle to breast cancer during my time in high school.

What was your most memorable game during your high school career?

A: It was a night, road game in 2011, we just learned that coach had tragically passed.  Our coaches gathered us and gave us the option to not play the game, and just head home.  The game was an important game, versus a top ranked team, and we all agreed that Coach Joseph-Rishard would want us to play.

We won the game and it was an emotional moment for all of us.

Thanks for sharing that story, so tell us, how did you land in Nevada?

A: I learned about the opportunity when a good friend of mine reached out and helped facilitated a meeting with Coach Albright.  Albright, considered one of the pioneers of women’s basketball, her name stands side by side with names like Pat Summit, when it comes to representing and elevating the game. Coach Albright retired after 33 years and 500+ wins.  I’m blessed to have learned from someone that allowed me to grow to three different roles.

How were those Nevada teams?

A: We moved from the WAC into the Mountain West, which was an adjustment, our best year we had 18 wins and finished third in the conference.  We faced some uncanny injuries, as one year we lost three starts to ACL injuries, during our opening three games.

Janet Butler (Photo by Karlee Sell – via Monmouth Athletics)

How did you learn about Monmouth University?

A: Friend and fellow coach at Missouri-KC.  She knew I was looking for a new opportunity when Coach Albright retired.  Most of us on the staff felt it was likely there would be changes.

That led to an interview with Coach Palmateer, and then things moved very fast.

But Coach Palmateer moved along, and now I work for Coach Jody Craig, former Monmouth assistant and fellow asst. James Young.

I see you have an extremely diverse roster with student athletes from Spain, Finland, WV and AZ and even some local talent from Monsignor Donovan.  Tell me about your approach to recruiting?

A: Our staff does a great job.  Moving forward we plan on really concentrating locally, there’s so much talent in New Jersey; but we’ll always encourage a diverse roster.

I also see the Monmouth schedule is diverse with games against Clemson, Navy and Virginia Tech, before entering conference play.  Is there a strategy to the scheduling of the non-conference games?

A: We can compete with anyone and wanted to play tough games, so we’re prepared for conference play.

How do you and head coach Jody and fellow asst. James divide responsibilities?

A: Everyone is involved in everything, we just play different roles.  James heads recruiting, and I help the team with academics.  We all work on player development.  I work with the guards and James works with the bigs.

How about the best player or team Monmouth faced this past year?

A: Virginia Tech was a very talented team, very athletic team, but our schedule was filled with talented teams and coaches.

What coach has been most influential in your career?

A: As a player, I would say Coach Joseph-Rishard

As a coach, Coach Albright at Nevada.

OK, now we move to our lightening round, quick questions, fast answers.

Lightening Round:

Who’s your hero? That’s easy, Pat Summit!

Favorite Professional Sports team? I’d say the WNBA Minnesota Lynx.

Favorite food: Another easy one, Pizza.

Favorite TV Show: The Office

Thanks, so much Janet and continued success with your career.  I look forward to seeing you on the sidelines at a game next season.

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