Former Gophers hockey coach

A former University assistant hockey coach wants his slice of a $67 million class-action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Bill Butters, who assisted Gophers men’s hockey coach Doug Woog from 1985 to 1995, brought his own suit last week, seeking compensation for lost wages.
The NCAA imposed restrictions on certain coaches’ salaries in 1992 in an effort to help younger coaches break into the field. But a judge ruled in 1995 that the NCAA could not restrict coaches’ salaries after a class-action suit was filed claiming the restrictions were unfair. The decision is still under appeal.
Frank Kara, assistant director of the University Athletic Compliance Office, said the $12,000 salary — plus $4,000 in the summer — was not attractive to coaches who were 30-year veterans.
In addition, these coaches cannot recruit off campus. But, Kara said, they can have the same duties as another coach making $50,000.
Besides football, every University athletic team has a restricted earnings coach, Kara said.
Butters, whose salary was also reduced to $12,000 following the legislation, took a “big hit,” said his attorney Priscilla Lord Faris.
Butters said the new rule stated only one assistant coach could be full-time. The decision was made to keep Mark Mazzolini full-time, probably because Butters had a construction background and could take on a rink manager job to supplement his income, he said.
Butters joined the class-action suit that caused the 1995 decision, but backed out for fear of discrimination, Faris said. But now he wants to rejoin the suit.
Wally Renfro, a spokesman for the NCAA, said he wasn’t aware of the suit and was reluctant to comment.
“I’m surprised that another suit like this was filed,” Renfro said.
The complaint asks for damages, with interest — triple the amount Butters lost because of the change in NCAA coaching rules — plus attorney fees.
When Butters received the cut in pay, Faris said, he continued with his coaching duties. But the loss of money forced him to take another job as daily activities manager of Mariucci Arena, Faris said.
“But it started to get to be too much,” Faris said. Butters quit the team in 1995 to become a coach at Bethel College, she said, and now coaches hockey at White Bear Lake High School.
Faris said she plans to file a motion to get Butters reinstated in the class-action suit.