Jim Butterfield Named One of Top College Football Coaches Ever

By Justin Lutes, December 11, 2019
The legendary coach is one of only seven Division III-only coaches to make ESPN's all-time list.

As part of the 150th anniversary of college football in the United States, ESPN released a ranking of the 150 greatest coaches in the history of the sport, and legendary Ithaca College head coach Jim Butterfield landed at No. 76 overall. He was one of only 7 coaches on the list who coached their entire career at the Division III level. 

From 1967-93, Butterfield was on the sidelines of the Bombers program and turned Ithaca into a perennial powerhouse. After a 29-29 start to his career over seven seasons, Butterfield finished his career with an overall mark of 206-71-1. The Bombers reached the NCAA Tournament 11 times, including seven trips to the Stagg Bowl. Ithaca won national championships in 1979, 1988 and 1991. During his 27 years as Ithaca's coach, 85 Bombers earned a total of 149 All-American honors.

Butterfield retired from IC in 1993 and remains the program's winningest coach. He was inducted into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame in 1997, into the Ithaca College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

Ithaca College's South Hill Field was renamed Butterfield Stadium in 1992; at the time he was one of only three active college football coaches with an on-field facility bearing his name. At the same time, the Philip James Butterfield Scholarship was established in the Ithaca College School of Health Sciences and Human Performance, where Butterfield held the rank of professor of physical education. The scholarship is presented annually to a junior or senior who exhibits outstanding academic performance and citizenship, with preference given to students who plan to pursue teaching careers.