RCW: Sport Spotlight 4.27 (Softball)
?? Welcome to the world, Saydie Butler!!!
— Kansas Softball (@KUSoftball) March 17, 2018
A post shared by Kansas Softball (@kusoftball) on Mar 17, 2018 at 11:05am PDT
As Kansas prepares to begin Big 12 Conference play this weekend in Texas, another new beginning is taking place off the field.
Assistant coach Abbie Butler and her husband Tye welcomed their first-born child, Saydie, into the world in the early-morning hours of Saturday, March 17.
“We are super-excited for Abbie and Tye,” Kansas head coach Megan Smith said. “Little Saydie is the newest member of our KU softball family.”
While Butler is on maternity leave, which began before last week’s Rock Chalk Challenge, video coordinator Chris Malveaux steps up to assume assistant coach responsibilities. Malveaux will oversee KU’s pitching staff and call pitches, among other duties.
“It’s certainly a unique situation that I haven’t seen happen during the season much,” Smith said. “But it’s real life. Life and family is more important than a game. Abbie starting her family is important for her, and (it’s) also important for us to support her 100 percent through that process.”
Butler was an All-American pitcher at NC State and became the first-ever Wolfpack softball player to be named the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Player of the Year in 2007. She came to Kansas after a successful five-year stint as the assistant coach at Houston.
Malveaux was previously the head coach at McNeese State for four years and spent time as an assistant coach at Louisiana and Bradley prior to arriving in Lawrence.
“Abbie brings so much to our program, so we are really lucky to have Chris here to step in and coach our pitchers,” Smith said. “Chris has so much experience and someone who has a personality and demeanor to fit in immediately. That has been huge for our team, huge for our pitching staff and for me to have him to lean on.”