Tonya Butler

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Tonya Butler
West Alabama Tigers No. 37
Position Kicker
Class 2004
Major Psychology & counseling
Career history
College Middle Georgia College (2000–2001)
University of West Alabama (2003–2004)
Bowl games Golden Isles Bowl Classic 2000
High school Riverdale High School
Personal information
Date of birth 1980 ca.
Height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight 140 lb (64 kg)
Career highlights and awards
  • First female athlete to score a field goal in a college football game

Tonya Butler (born ca. 1980) is an American athlete who is the first woman ever to score a field goal in a college football game. She accomplished this feat on September 13, 2003, as a placekicker for the University of West Alabama Tigers, which was competing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II. She also played women's soccer for Georgia Southern.

Playing career[edit]

High school[edit]

Butler was raised in Fayetteville, Georgia, where she played the placekicker position for Riverdale High School.[1] She won the starting kicking job when she was in tenth grade after serving as the junior varsity kicker for her freshman year.[2] As a sophomore, Butler converted seven of eight field goal attempts and 28 of 31 extra points and became the first female to both make the all-area team for Clayton and Henry Counties and honorable mention for Class AAA all-state team as picked by the Georgia Sportswriters Association.[1][3]

Butler converted five of ten field goal attempts and 20 of 23 extra points as a junior; and seven of thirteen field goals and 64-of-65 extra points as a senior.[1][4] She completed her Riverdale career with 165 total points, for second place all-time in points scored at Riverdale.[4] For her performance on the field, Butler was named to the 1998 Class AAA all-state football team as picked by the Georgia Sportswriters Association as the first female ever selected.[4]

College[edit]

During her senior year of high school, Butler received interest from Central Michigan in Division I-A and over two dozen schools in Division I-AA for her services as placekicker.[1] In January 1999 Butler announced she would play college football at Middle Georgia College for head coach Randy Pippin and signed a national letter of intent for a football scholarship to compete as placekicker on February 3, 1999.[5][6] The signing made Butler the first female to earn a football scholarship at a state school.[6] During her two years at Middle Georgia, Butler made 36 of 42 extra points and one field goal for the Warriors.[7] After earning her associates degree at Middle Georgia, she did not receive any scholarship offers to compete as a placekicker elsewhere.[7] Butler ended up going to Georgia Southern where she played soccer and graduated in 2003.[8]

After graduating from Georgia Southern, former Georgia College head coach Randy Pippin, who was now the head coach at West Alabama, offered Butler a scholarship to serve as placekicker for the Tigers.[9] With two years of eligibility remaining, she enrolled as a graduate student and won the starting placekicker position for the Tigers 2003 season.[9] In the first game of the season, Butler scored on a 27-yard field goal attempt against Stillman with 9:41 remaining in the first quarter.[9] Although initially unconfirmed by the NCAA as gender was not differentiated in their all-time records, it was later confirmed that Butler was the first female to score a field goal in a college football game.[10][11][12]

Butler served as placekicker for both the 2003 and 2004 seasons playing for West Alabama. For her career she made 13 of 19 field goal attempts with a long kick of 39 yards, and 48 of 53 in extra point attempts.[12] Her 50 total points made during the 2003 season led the squad, and she was named special teams captain in both her years at West Alabama.[12] Butler also was named Academic All-Gulf South Conference in 2004 and graduated in 2005 with a master's degree in psychology and counseling.[12] In January 2006, her West Alabama helmet, jersey and cleats were displayed at the NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis in recognition of her accomplishments as a student-athlete.[12]

Butler held the record for the most points scored by a female college football player with 87 through the 2010 season when Brittany Ryan from Lebanon Valley College established the new mark.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Newberry, Paul (November 1, 1998). "Georgia kicker wants to blaze trail for female football players". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ Awtrey, Stan (September 6, 1996). "Riverdale debuts with female kicker". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. 4D. 
  3. ^ Lee, Michael (August 21, 1997). "Getting her kicks in; Butler's earning fame for skill, not gender". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. 1E. 
  4. ^ a b c "All-State list boasts first female". The Augusta Chronicle. Associated Press. December 25, 1998. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ Carvell, Michael (January 23, 1999). "Butler will kick at Middle Georgia". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. 1E. 
  6. ^ a b Carvell, Michael (February 4, 1999). "Middle Georgia signs Butler". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. 6D. 
  7. ^ a b Towers, Chip (February 9, 2001). "Female kicker unsigned but not discouraged". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. 2C. 
  8. ^ Rosen, Karen (October 17, 2003). "Pioneer still gets her football kicks". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. 8D. 
  9. ^ a b c Carroll, Andrew (September 14, 2000). "UWA's Tonya Butler aims for NCAA history". The Tuscaloosa News. p. C1. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Feat accompli". Sports Illustrated. SI.com. September 13, 2003. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  11. ^ McIntyre, Jeff (November 4, 2004). "Girl power!". TimesDaily. Florence, Alabama. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Deas, Tommy (January 26, 2006). "Former UWA kicker has own NCAA display". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  13. ^ Vecsey, George (October 8, 2010). "Kickers form bond and find sorority". The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2011.