Sunrise Champions - 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, & 2008
Nevada 4A State Champions 2001. 2005, & 2006
Coach Francis Herbert Butcher ("Butch")
Memorial at Las Vegas High School
Francis Herbert Butcher ("Butch") graduated from Howard Payne College, Brownwood Texas, 1927. He accepted a teaching position at LVHS then located on 4th street. The former college football star's added responsibilities were to integrate athletics into the high school program.
September 13, 1927, marked the opening day of football practice at LVHS. Thirteen recruits greeted coach Butcher as the whistle sounded. On September 20th the new uniforms arrived and on the evening of October 21st, the entire town turned out for a pep rally and bon fire.
At 2 PM on October 22, 1927, the Wildcats kicked off for the first time against Victorville and lost a hard fought battle 14-13. Within two years, coach Butcher had produced championship teams for the 1929 and 1930 season. In fact, Reno backed out of the 1930 State Championship game for fear of being beaten by a "Southern Team."
In addition to this, Coach Butcher personally designed the gymnasium at the 7th street campus, coached basketball, and the track team, which he guided to two State Championships.
Tragically, the 26 year old teacher, beloved by every man, woman, and child in Las Vegas, died from burn injuries sustained in a house fire on December 13, 1930. A memorial plaque was placed on the south wall of the school building, facing the field, which was named after him. He was laid to rest beside the grave of his mother on December 22, 1930, in Fort Worth Texas.
The following is the dedication speech from Friday, November 8, 2002. The Coach Butcher Memorial was dedicated at half-time of the Las Vegas Wildcat – Silverado Skyhawk 2002 Playoff game.
Ladies and Gentleman, at this time, we would like to direct your attention to the concession area of the stadium for a special presentation.
Tonight marks a special date in Las Vegas High School history as we pay tribute to an individual who is the founding father of Wildcat Football.
Francis Herbert Butcher graduated from Howard Payne College, Brownwood Texas in 1927 and immediately accepted a teaching position at our high school, at the time located on 4th street. The former college football star’s added responsibilities were to inaugurate athletics into the high school program.
“Butch” as he was called, had no problem finding recruits for football in 1927. On the 13th of September, thirteen eager young men donned the practice gear for the first time, marking the birth of Las Vegas High School Wildcat Football. September 20th marked the arrival of the uniforms. On the evening of October 21st, the entire town of Las Vegas converged upon the school at 7 PM for a rally and bon fire.
At 2 pm on October 22, 1927, the entire town cheered as the Wildcats stormed on to the field for the first time. The ‘Cats lost a hard fought 14-13 battle to Victorville that day. Those who witnessed the beginning of the football program had no idea that the Wildcats would continue to positively influence the school, students, and community, in a championship manner, well into the next century.
In two short years, Coach Butcher had established a winning program that would be followed by two State Championship teams. In fact, Reno High School backed out of the 1930 State Championship Game for fear of being beaten by a “Southern Team.” Additionally, “Butch” was the head coach for the basketball and State Champion track teams. He also personally designed the gymnasium for the new campus, to be located on 7th street.
Tragically, the 26 year old teacher and coach, beloved by every man, woman, and child in this city, lost his life from injuries sustained in a house fire, on December 13, 1930. Six days later, the entire town was present at his funeral services in the high school gymnasium as it was time to say goodbye to Coach Butcher. A memorial plaque was placed on the wall of the high school and he was laid to rest beside the grave of his mother, in Fort Worth Texas, on December 22, 1930.
Time moves on and memories unfortunately fade. In April of 2002, Clark County School District Administrator Owen Kelsall came across information in the 1930 yearbook mentioning the passing of coach Butcher. Research started immediately and within a month, Mr. Kelsall was able to locate the memorial plaque at the old high school and bring it home tonight, where it belongs, here at the present day Las Vegas High School.
The Las Vegas High School Football Program and Booster Club would like to thank the following people for their contributions to this project:
Owen Kelsall – Owen started this project, did all the research, and uncovered the dedication plaque at the old LVHS campus; without him this project would not have been done. His tireless work has been an inspiration to many.
Dina Grossardt – the president of the LVHS Football Booster Club has done an exceptional job of seeing this project to its conclusion.
Myron E. Leavitt – Mr. Leavitt gathered the dignitaries here tonight, and has been a loyal supporter of LVHS for many years.
Dennis & Craig Whiting – Whiting Brothers – thanks to these gentlemen for the donation of the rock, the mounting of the plaque, and their many hours of service towards this project.
Ray Nelson – MS Concrete – for the platform that the display is set on.
Kerry Gifford – for the electrical work to illuminate the rock and plaque.
LVHS Custodians David “Paco” Moreno and Onelio “Onee” Mirabal – for the refurbishing of the dedication plaque.
Nevada Dignitaries that Attended the Dedication of the Coach Butcher Memorial at LVHS
Mr. Richard Bryan – former United States Senator and Governor of Nevada.
Mr. John Mendoza – former District Attorney and District Judge, captain of the famous 1944 Wildcat Football Team that was undefeated, untied, and never scored upon all season.
Mr. Mahlon Brown – former United States Attorney whose father spearheaded the fundraiser for the plaque honoring Coach Butcher.
Mr. Myron E. Leavitt – Justice of Nevada Supreme Court, former Lieutenant Governor and District Court Judge, former Wildcat Football running back.