Entering his sixth season at Butler, Head Coach Mike Helmer has re-energized the Grizzly basketball program, both on the court and in the eyes of the Butler faithful. His drive and determination is infectious, as his student-athletes strive to succeed in competition and in the classroom. Helmer has led the Lady Grizzlies to 93 wins during his tenure, averaging 21 wins in each of the last three seasons. Each of the last three seasons have seen the Lady Grizzlies make back-to-back-to-back trips to the Region VI tournament in Wichita.
In five years, the Grizzlies have defeated seven ranked opponents, including a 27 point drubbing of Garden City Community College last February in the Power Plant. Other top 25 wins came against Redlands Community College (2012), Iowa Western Community College (2011), Hutchinson Community College (2011), Independence Community College (2009), Cloud County Community College (2010) and Kansas City Kansas Community College (2011).
The 2012-2013 season helped put the Grizzlies Women’s Basketball Program back on the map as they finished the season at 26-7 and broke a number of team and individual school records. The Grizzlies went 12-4 in the rugged Jayhawk West and went 15-1 at home inside the Power Plant. Two players off that team were named to the All Conference and All Region Teams as well as having three members on the Region VI All-Tournament team.
Helmer’s personality is infectious, and has made him a quick favorite among Butler fans. He is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the top young coaches in the country, both by media and his peers in the coaching community.
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 has coached six All Conference players, five All Region performers, a host of Academic All Americans and three All-American candidates. In five seasons, Helmer has helped five players get to the NCAA Division I level. In Addition, Helmer also helped groom Butler’s first two WBCA NJCAA All-Stars in Jamillah Bonner (2012) and Ashlee Ivy (2013).
“We are excited that Mike is part of our basketball program,” said Butler Athletic Director Todd Carter. “He comes from a basketball family with a history of basketball excellence in the state of Kansas. Mike understands the importance of recruiting locally, which is necessary to help us compete for championships.”
Helmer exceeded all expectations in his first season as the head coach of the Butler Grizzly Basketball Program. He improved dramatically the overall culture of Grizzly women’s basketball beginning with the academic landscape helping the Grizzlies go from one of the lowest team GPA’s in the nation to a Top 30 program nationally. In addition, the Grizzlies showed improvement on the floor as well going from eight wins in 2008 to 14 in 2009 – Helmer’s first year.
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 1000 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 (5) and Carson (2).