Sept. 1, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. - University of Arizona women's basketball coach Niya Butts was honored this past weekend in her hometown of Americus, Ga., with the retirement of her high school jersey number.
An alumnus of Americus High School, Butts was honored by her then-coach Evelyn Wright as well as her former principal, Junita Wilson. Her No. 23 jersey will hang from the rafters at The Panther Den, Americus' home basketball stadium.
A two-sport star at Americus, Butts lettered in both basketball and track and field. She is the all-time leading scorer at the school, totaling 1,613 points during her tenure. She was a three-time All-Area selection from 1993-95 and was the Americus Times-Recorder's Player of the Year in 1995. She was also a Georgia All-State selection the same year.
Butts launched Americus to the state semifinals for the first time in 34 years as a junior, doing so by hitting the game winner from the baseline in a game against Dodge County - a moment she declared as her most memorable in high school. As a senior, she averaged a double-double with 13.7 points and 10.8 rebounds in addition to her 6.1 assists per game. She also held her high school's record in the shot put at time.
Butts would go on to be a part of two national championships with the Tennessee Lady Vols before launching into a coaching career that inevitably led her to Arizona for her first head coaching job.
Butts is set to kick off her third season as the head coach at Arizona where the Wildcats are slated to start their season November 12 against Wichita State.
Information collected from Americus Times-Recorder and from the University of Tennessee Women Athletics Department was used in the release.