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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Basic Biitner: One very special guy

Monday, April 10, 2006

AURELIA - It was my privilege to be chosen to present a "lifetime achievement" plaque to a very special person on Tuesday night. The plaque cited Duane "Nobby" Buttenob for his "contributions to Aurelia Athletics."

As I noted at the time of the presentation, listing all of "Nobby's" contributions on the plaque would have required a very large plaque - one too heavy for either he or me to carry. However, I do have a little more room in this space, so I'd like to elaborate more fully.

First of all, any awards for "Coach" are a tribute, above all, to the man and his wonderful nature. The "numbers" are certainly impressive, too, but to know Nobby is to love him.

Anyway - the numbers - Buttenob's entire coaching career was spent in Cherokee County schools - first at Quimby/Willow Community High School, and then, from 1963 until his retirement, at Aurelia Community High School.

I was in the eighth grade when Nobby came to Aurelia, and when he wrapped up his coaching career, as the freshman coach for the combined Alta-Aurelia sports program, my son was one of his players. I am so glad that my son got to experience playing for Coach Buttenob.

Buttenob was inducted into the IHSAA Hall of Fame for his 471 coaching wins at Quimby and Aurelia. Highlights along the way included an appearance at the 1974 State Tournament, where the 'Dogs dropped a tough first-round game to North Polk of Alleman, and a return to State in 1978, where they advanced and won the consolation game against Clinton St. Mary's.

In addition to his wonderful High School coaching mark, however, Nobby's "contributions to Aurelia Athletics" would certainly include the creation of, and active involvement in, the Kiwanis "kid's basketball" program; taking tickets and other assorted duties at the annual CABA baseball tournament held in Aurelia for many years; assisting with the maintenance of the football field, track, baseball field and gym; serving as Athletic Director from 1968 on, and many other duties which he took on willingly and enthusiastically.

One final contribution will be noted here. Nobby is a very accomplished woodworker who taught industrial arts at Aurelia for many years, and still operates a business - "Nobby's Backyard Crafts" - out of his home. Several years ago, when the "alternate possession rule" in basketball came into being in Iowa high school basketball, Nobby came to the rescue at Aurelia. He fashioned a wooden arrow to use on the scorer's bench at Aurelia, and the scorer would simply lift it and turn the arrow in the opposite direction when possession changed. Simple, and not high tech - but it certainly worked, and made Aurelia a unique place to play and watch basketball.

As did another of Nobby's contributions - the short-sleeved, t-shirt type basketball jersey- the symbol of Bulldog basketball for many years.

May we never forget his legacy.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner