Mike Helmer is entering his ninth season at Butler, where he has led the Grizzlies to an overall record of 179-81 that includes an average of 24 wins a year over the last six seasons.
In 2015-16, Helmer guided the Grizzlies to a 24-8 overall record and a fifth-place finish in the Jayhawk West. Helmer became the second coach in the program’s history to have 20 wins or more in four straight seasons. Butler advanced to the second round of the Region VI Tournament for the sixth straight season. Tamara Lee and Kyeria Hannah both earned AllKJCCC honors, while Lee was named to the All-Region VI squad.
During the 2014-15 season, the Grizzlies finished with a record of 24-7 and a second place finish in the Jayhawk Western Conference. Ashley Gibson also became the second NJCAA All-American in as many years under Helmer and the second in the history of the program. Katie Palmer, Kynadi Johnson were also named to the All Conference teams. Another team highlight was beating Seward at Seward which broke a 19 year streak.
The 2013-14 season was a record-breaking year for Butler. The team broke nearly every single-season school record on their way to Butler's first ever appearance in the NJCAA women's national tournament. The Grizzlies went 34-3, including an undefeated 12-0 record in conference play. The conference title was the first for Butler since 1995. Along the way, Butler won 30 straight games. The Grizzlies finished sixth in the final national rankings and reached the "Elite 8" in the national tournament.
Helmer also coached Butler's first women's basketball All-American in Te'era Williams. Helmer himself was honored for Butler's remarkable run, earning Jayhawk East Conference Coach of the Year honor. For his efforts, Helmer was also named the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association (KBCA) Women's Junior College Coach of the Year.
In addition to the basketball honors and accolades, the Grizzlies posted a team GPA of 3.30. The Grizzlies sent seven players on to four-year programs - three to NCAA Division I, two to NCAA Division II and one each to NCAA Division III and NAIA.
While the 2013-14 season was the best in school history, Helmer spent years laying the foundation for such success. In the past six years, the Grizzlies have defeated 12 ranked opponents, including a 23-point drubbing of on the road at Iowa Western two Years ago and this past season beating Seward at Seward which Broke a 19 year streak. Other top 25 wins came against Cowley (2014 twice), State Fair (2013), Garden City Community College (2013), Redlands (2012), Iowa Western (2011), Hutchinson (2011), Independence (2009), Cloud County (2010) and Kansas City, Kansas (2011).
Under Helmer’s guidance, the Grizzlies have gone 44-3 within the friendly confines of their home arena, the Power Plant, over the last three seasons. In seven seasons, Helmer's teams have also posted an average team GPA of a 3.21. The totals of what Helmer has accomplished at Butler are staggering. He has coached 15 all conference players, 10 all-region performers, a host of academic all-Americans and 5 all-American candidates, including Butler’s only two NJCAA All American. Helmer has helped eleven players get to NCAA Division I and 13 to the NCAA Division II level. In Addition, Helmer also helped groom Butler’s first four NJCAA Coaches Association All-Stars in Jamillah Bonner (2012), Ashlee Ivy (2013), Ashley Gibson (2014) and Kyeria Hannah (2016).
Just as important, Helmer has become a front-runner on the recruiting trail, as evidenced by his success with his in-state recruiting classes. The native Kansan, Helmer prides himself on getting the best players in the state and helping them transfer on to the next level.
Helmer is able to maximize each and every student-athlete’s contribution to the team through his uncanny ability to encourage and motivate. Examples of such ability are found in two players- Tysia Manuel and Renisha Hunter who went from virtual unknowns to signing NCAA Division I scholarships (Hunter in 2009 to Nicholls State University and Manuel in 2013 to Oral Roberts University) on the merit of hard work and dedication.
Helmer began his coaching career at Wichita South High School leading them to unprecedented heights including a 6A runner-up finish. During his tenure at South High, Helmer coached Christine Elliott, who signed with Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. While at SMU, Elliott became a member of the 1,000 point club and amassed over 900 rebounds for her career. Helmer also mentored Megan Lassley, who signed with Seward County out of high school and then went on to play at NCAA Division II powerhouse Washburn University.
Before Helmer began his high school coaching career, he spent eight years managing a personal training facility in Lawrence, Kansas.
After a stellar high school career at Marion High School, Helmer played collegiate hoops at Pratt Community College and then at Kansas Wesleyan University.
Helmer is married to the former Kristina Anderson, and the couple resides in El Dorado with their children, Anderson (8) and Carson (5).