Joe Butler joked Thursday that his acceptance speech would likely not be brief. And it wasn’t.
But while it wasn’t quite as long as his sterling decades-long career as an educator, coach and administrator in New Mexico, Butler certainly had earned the right to bask in one of the great moments of his life.
Butler was announced at the Pit on Thursday as the sole member of the New Mexico Activities Association’s 2023 Hall of Fame class.
“It’s a humbling experience, but also a happy day,” Butler, 71, said at the McDavid Lounge.
He will formally be inducted on July 22. He is the 115th inductee into the NMAA Hall of Fame.
Butler was surrounded by family and friends as he graciously accepted this honor. His career included stops at St. Michael’s, Santa Fe and Moriarty.
As an athlete, he was part of multiple state championship basketball teams for the Horsemen, and he also played baseball and tennis.
Butler later attended Notre Dame, which “was my goal all the way through (high) school.” He played baseball in South Bend.
He was both a coach and athletic director at St. Michael’s from 1986-98. He was the Horsemen’s head tennis coach.
He later became the AD at Santa Fe High School, and following his time with the Demons he was the athletic director at Moriarty. He logged nearly 30 years in one capacity or another as a professional in New Mexico schools.
He joined the NMAA staff in 2012, and retired in 2018. Although he continues to help out during the state tennis tournament.
“I’ll never forget this,” Butler said Thursday.