Rifle Adds Assistant Coaching Position

Rifle Adds Assistant Coaching Position

West Virginia University rifle coach Jon Hammond has announced that Soren Butler has been hired to fill the recently-created position as assistant coach.

Previously Hammond had been the only full-time coach for the Mountaineer rifle team, though the program has utilized graduate assistants and volunteer assistants in the past.

“Firstly, we’re very excited to have had this position created,” Hammond said. “This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and we’re eager to add to our program.

“We’re happy to welcome Soren on board. He’s been our graduate assistant the last two years, and we know what he brings to this team – his personality, his work ethic and his excitement for the sport. We’re excited to keep him within the program, and I believe the continuity will help this team excel.”

Butler, a native of Casselton, North Dakota, joined the Mountaineers at the onset of the 2017-18 season as a graduate assistant. With his help, the Mountaineers have secured back-to-back runner-up finishes at the NCAA Championships (2018, 2019) and earned consecutive Great America Rifle Conference (GARC) regular-season and championship titles. Additionally, he has coached one NCAA National Champion in Morgan Phillips, the 2018 smallbore winner.

In his two seasons at WVU, Butler has coached six athletes to 26 All-America honors and three to Google Cloud Academic All-America accolades. Additionally, WVU has won four individual GARC titles and three GARC postseason honors.

The Mountaineers have not lost a regular-season match since Butler arrived in Morgantown.

“I want to thank my family, my friends, the WVU Athletics Department staff and the Hammond family for this unbelievable opportunity,” Butler said. “I cannot wait to continue to build on the last two years of work on the line with Jon and (performance consultant) Raymond (Prior). I’m ready to make Morgantown my home.”

West Virginia graduate assistant Soren Butler (l) and head coach Jon Hammond watch a smallbore relay
West Virginia graduate assistant Soren Butler (l) and head coach Jon Hammond watch a smallbore relay

A four-year letterwinner at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Butler was a two-time NRA All-American with the Nanooks. He shot at the 2016 and 2017 NCAA Championships, where he finished tied for eighth overall in smallbore (582) and air rifle (592). Butler also claimed the Patriot Rifle Conference Championship smallbore title as a senior, shooting a career-high 589.

The 2016-17 team co-captain and MVP, he won the Nanooks’ Joe Tremarello Sportsmanship Award in consecutive seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17). He finished his collegiate shooting career with highs of 594 air rifle and 589 smallbore.

Butler earned his bachelor’s degree in general business from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in May 2016 and his Masters of Business Administration M.B.A. in May 2017, also from UAF. He earned a master’s degree in sport management from West Virginia University in May 2019.


2 thoughts on “Rifle Adds Assistant Coaching Position

  1. Bout time we added staff to the Rifle team. Last two years have been such a disappointment finishing so far down in the final rankings. 😉

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