ALTON, IL — Butch Chapman has been around the game of baseball for as long as he can remember.

“(I) started playing organized baseball when I was about six,” Butch said. “There was no such thing as tee ball, coach pitch.”

From playing the game in the backyard with his dad and brother to playing in high school to coaching for most of his adult life, there isn’t a spring or summer that Butch isn’t near a baseball field.

Coaching is where Butch has made a big impact. He is known for his long tenure coaching at the local high school, and over the last two seasons, he’s added assistant coach of the Prospect League’s Alton River Dragons to his list.

“I was a sophomore in high school when I started to think about coaching,” Butch said.

“Coaching has to start from right in here,” Butch says as he points to his heart. “You have to be really smart, but it has to start from in the heart.”

In his long coaching career, Butch has displayed incredible selflessness. Rarely has he taken a penny to coach. His reward is seeing the players thrive on and off the diamond.

“You have to be so devoted to the things you care so much about,” Butch said. “To think I’d ever take a dime of doing something I care about it seems to me it would be the wrong thing to do.”

“He is someone we can always go to if we’re feeling down about something or we need to ask questions,” River Dragons played Noah Bush said. “He’s always there.”

Adam Stilts, a pitcher for the River Dragons who also played for Butch in high school, said “That is just the type of guy he is. He loves baseball he loves coaching.”

“He’s a mentor,” River Dragons manager Darrell Handelsman said. “He’s got leadership and wisdom. His energy. His passion for baseball.”

Butch has lived and breathed baseball for as long as he’s remembered. He hopes to be remembered for his love of coaching the players and his respect for the game.

“Everything goes back to the young men I’ve coached over the years,” Butch said. “Everybody knows how much I love the game. I have such a debt to repay.”

“I hope I have a few more years to give back. That is why I stay around.”