LOCAL NEWS

Softball coach retires after 50 years on the field

May 7, 2024, 8:56 PM | Updated: 10:54 pm

BOUNTIFUL — While the season is winding down for the Bountiful High School girls’ softball team, it is definitely the end of an era at this game against Roy.

Coach Butch Latey is coaching his last game after more than 50 years.

“I just say softball is a lesson in life,” Latey said.

Actually, softball has been his life. He’s coached four generations of players.

His early games in Utah involved playing semi-pro softball on a team with Larry H. Miller. That sparked a life-long friendship between the families. Philanthropist Gail Miller attended his retirement game and paid tribute to his dedication of shaping the lives of young women athletes.

“You’ve launched many a young woman on a career to a life of good,” Miller said. “The legacy you leave is really remarkable and you should be very, very proud.”

School leaders honored the coach on Bountiful High’s Butch Latey Field and read Gov. Spencer Cox’s proclamation of “Butch Latey Day” in Utah. Then it was time to “Play Ball!”

Players and parents were there to cheer the team and Latey.

“He was my batting coach in fourth grade,” assistant coach Katie Tanner said. “He helped me get to college. I played collegiately, and he checked on me every week.” Now she helps coach the team.

“I started being coached by Butch when I was 12,” Tanna Alvey-Jensen said. Now, her two daughters play on the team.

Alvey-Jensen got emotional when talking about what Latey has meant to her family.

“He is there for us in a way that sometimes our parents can’t be,” she said. “And it changes lives.”

Hearing that kind of feedback is what has kept Latey on the field all these years. “I’ve had a lot of them come back and say, ‘if we didn’t do this, if we didn’t do that.’ It’s been fun. That’s the best part,” Latey said.

Across the dugouts, short quotes are hung that are the players’ favorites from their coach. He’s known for these quips.

“I think the best one I like is ‘everybody helping everybody,’ Tanner said.

“The best thing you could hear from Butch was ‘Good job, babe,” Alvey said.

So in a final tribute, she sent it right back. “Good job, babe,” she said.

The Bountiful Redhawks and Latey won their final game together.

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Softball coach retires after 50 years on the field