GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - A longtime coach with Green Bay Athletics, Nordic ski head coach Butch Reimer passed away Tuesday evening after a battle with acute myogenic leukemia. Reimer served as both the head Nordic ski and softball coach during his time at Green Bay.
Reimer, 58, had most recently worked as head Nordic ski coach since 2006, when he returned to coaching at Green Bay after a four-year hiatus. He originally arrived at Green Bay in 1988 and served as Nordic ski coach until 1998. He was the head softball coach during a six-year stint from 1996-2002.
"Butch has been a longtime coach, supporter, leader and friend for Green Bay Athletics and countless student-athletes, and he will truly be missed by all of those who have had the chance to know him and work with him over the years," said Athletics Director Ken Bothof. "His wife Jill, two children and entire family are in our thoughts as they mourn the loss of this great man."
Reimer is survived by his wife, Jill, and his two children, Jake and Hannah. A Green Bay native, he also worked as the facilities director for the Pulaski Community School District.
During his time at Green Bay, Reimer led the ski program to great heights. In his years leading the program, 33 men and women qualified for the NCAA Championships and his teams won two regional championships and two conference titles.
In 1995, Reimer was one of three coaches to assist the United States at the World University Games in Jacai, Spain.
While at the helm of the softball program, Reimer led the Phoenix to three-straight conference title games and a then-program best 27-15 record in 2000.
Dan McIver, Green Bay associate athletics director and former assistant softball coach:
"Butch was a coach, mentor and friend to so many people. The impact he made on those around him is immeasurable. His passion for coaching was evident every day. He loved working with athletes and helping each of them achieve more than they thought they could. His dedication and support for his athletes was something special to be a part of. I am truly honored to have been able to work with Butch for 14 years, and, more importantly, I am so proud to be able to call him a friend. He will be missed by all the student-athletes, coaches and staff he worked with at Green Bay. However, I know he has left me, as well as everyone else that was a part of his life, with a lifetime of fond memories that we will always cherish."
Sten Fjeldheim, Northen Michigan Nordic ski coach:
"Butch was a friend to all the skiers and coaches in our region. We will all miss him and when the season starts it will take some time for us to adjust to the fact that Butch will not be around. Butch had an incredible work ethic that was contagious, and everyone knew Butch was a fair and humble guy. He was highly respected by his fellow coaches and athletes from all teams, and I never met anyone who could not get along with Butch. He was a great communicator with his colleagues, his athletes and officials. Butch will be missed by so many, I know his team will stay focused on the training and work that still needs to be done. This is what Butch would want his his team to do - to train hard, race fast and most of all be the best sportsman you can possibly be."
Joe Haggenmiller, Michigan Tech Nordic ski coach:
"All of college skiing would like to thank Butch's family for sharing him with us, you have our deepest sympathies. Butch will be greatly missed in NCAA skiing, but we are all better for having known him. Butch was more than a colleague, he was a friend. Butch worked very hard for our sport and gave a lot of support to his athletes, and he had everyone's respect for his effort. On top of this, he was also the first to congratulate his competitors for a job well done. We will especially miss Butch's constant smile and his getting around the course in his big ol' Sorrell boots, not to mention the site of the motor home rolling into the venue with Butch at the wheel."
Poitras, Green Bay head soccer coach:
"It is a sad day in Phoenix Athletics. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and teams. Butch was a tremendous coach, and even a better person. He touched the lives of so many young people and always brought out the best in them. I am honored to have known and worked with such a good man."
Kirch, Green Bay head volleyball coach:
"It was an honor to have the opportunity to work with a coach like Butch. When I think of the definition of a good coach, first and foremost it is a person who coaches because of the student-athletes - because of the impact you as a coach can make on the lives of these young adults both as athletes and as people. And that is how I will remember Butch. He coached because he loved the sport and loved the student-athletes he coached. He has been a fixture of the Green Bay athletics department since I got here, and I can't imagine this program without him in it. He truly cared about the success of all the teams here. He was not just my colleague, he was my friend and I know I'm not the only one that feels that way."
(Kind) Urben, former Green Bay softball player:
"Butch was a very dedicated individual. I give him full credit for the success I had as a softball pitcher. He dedicated his time to me because he believed in me. He gave 100% into anything that he believed in. Though he was a man of few words at times, he was able to lead by example. He was a very talented athlete himself, whether it be running, skiing, or pitching. His example was worth more than a thousand words. Butch has touched many lives. His work ethic, dedication, and drive will live on through those he has touched."
North, former Green Bay skier (on SkinnySki.com):
"Butch prided himself on developing skiers from the Midwest, often foregoing more talented skiers, to give Wisconsin and Minnesota kids a chance at skiing fast and a good education."
Santi Ocariz, former Green Bay skier, 2010 second team all-American:
"Butch was always excited and enthusiastic for us to leave everything we had on the trail and would get extra excited when we performed well. One of his greatest attributes was that he was more of a friend or fellow teammate to express racing concerns and experiences with, rather than an authoritative figure."