2002 Record: 10-2
Head Coach: Troy Morrell, 4th season
Returning starters: 8 (4 offense, 4 defense)
2002 Recap: The Grizzlies lost the season opener 14-13 to a good Trinity Valley team and the season finale to Dixie 31-18 in the Rotary Bowl. Outside of the Rotary Bowl no one scored more than twice on them as they finished 13th in the J.C. Grid-Wire national rankings and 7th in the NJCAA final poll. The defense ranked 1st in scoring nationally and 4th overall. Scoring for the season went 375-96 and the defense allowed just 1.7 yards rushing per attempt.
2003 Outlook: Butler has won the Jayhawk Conference four of the last five years, played in three national title games and played in 15 bowl tilts in the past 20 years. "We had a great recruiting year and return more starters than we have in the past so we feel we will be right in the hunt," said Morrell. "Our goal is to win the national championship." The Grizzlies can rely on veteran QB Chad Wilmott (6-3, 210) to lead the attack, while a fine set of linebackers key the defense. Morrell named Coffeyville and Garden City as the usual top competitors to steal the Jayhawk show.
Players to Watch: Besides Wilmott, the Grizzlies return last year's leading rusher, Joseph Harris (5-10, 215), along with tight end Brent Hecht (6-4, 250). "We think we have as good a pair of linebackers as anyone in the country," said assistant coach Chris Jirgens. "Lee Foliaki at 6-2, 240, earned All-American honors last year and Greg Wilkerson, 6-4, 250, was All-Conference." Wilkerson has already committed to Auburn.
First Game: At Trinity Valley, August 30, 7 p.m.