Hall of Fame coach Ollie Isom, who led the Butler men's cross country team to the 1970 NJCAA National Championship, passed away on Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Derby. He was 80 years old.
Isom coached at Butler from 1966 until 1983. He started the men's cross country program at Butler and experienced success through his 15 years leading the program, coaching 15 All-Americans and winning the first of Butler's three cross country national championships. In 16 years leading the program, his teams finished in the top 10 nationally eight times.He also started the women's cross country program in 1980, coaching both teams for three years before retiring from the sport in 1982.
Isom was an assistant football coach at Butler in 1966 and in 1968, began working with the track programs. He was an assistant coach for 15 seasons and head coach for one year. During that time, he coached more than 100 All-Americans in indoor and outdoor track. He also taught classes at Butler for 30 years until retiring from the classroom in 1996. While at Butler he taught American History and Western Civilization; developed the Economics program; was the Chair of Social Science Department for several years; and received the Master Teacher of the year in 1990.
The Ollie Isom Invitational, Butler's home cross country meet held each fall, is named in his honor. He attended the meet each year. He was inducted into the Grizzly Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002 along with the 1970 championship team.
Isom officiated the Kansas State Track meet for 40 years; was a track starter for 20 years and was inducted into the NJCAA Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 1984.
Family will receive relatives and friends from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23, at Carlson Funeral Home, El Dorado. Celebration of his life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 24, 2014, at First Baptist Church in El Dorado. Interment will take place at 3 p.m. that afternoon in Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Bentley, Kan.