Beloved longtime East Swim coach, Butch Briggs, makes a true impact on swimmers

Lauren Bentley, Staff Writer

Since 1974, the East Grand Rapids swim team has had one person encouraging them through it all, their coach Butch Briggs. Butch has had a longstanding position as the swim coach, and not only leading the team to many victories but also leaves a personal impact on the team members. 

In high school, Butch ran track and played football, while swimming always seemed too hard. Although he wasn’t a high school swimmer himself, he has not failed to become an amazing coach for both of the swim teams. He is widely adored by many of the swimmers he coaches. 

“Butch makes it a point to know each of his swimmers as an individual,” Kyle Goins ‘20 said. He adds to the team comradery and makes swimming a positive and supportive environment. “Butch leads through silent encouragement,” Goins continued, “he gives praise for things done right, but never yells for mistakes, just simply lets the swimmer know what can be improved on.”

“Butch gets to know each swimmer as not just an athlete, but as an individual. He gets to know swimmers even before they have entered high school,” Katie Wing ‘22 said. Swimmers know Butch is an amazing coach, and that both the girls and boys teams are very successful. “By far the most rewarding thing about swimming is seeing your hard work pay off at championship meets,” Wing said. 

Along with being a recognizable coach, Butch has other accomplishments in the athletic community. He joined the Grand Rapids Hall of Fame induction class of 2009. Furthermore, the East Grand Rapids High School pool is dedicated to Milton “Butch” Briggs. 

“I started coaching at East because of the coaches I experienced as an athlete and definite guidance from Jesus Christ,” Butch said. It seems that by the way the swimmers talk about him, he definitely made the right decision. 

For a total of 46 years, swimmers seem to have been very inspired by him, and he has seen many wins for both. Butch’s proudest moments come from, “watching athletes exceed their expectations. EGR teams display high levels of dedication and perseverance.”

It is clear that Butch Briggs has had a large impact on all of the people he coaches. He is looked up to and knows how to coach a team very well. His advice for anybody who wants to be a coach in the future would be, “make sure it’s your passion,” as it is clearly his.