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Longtime athletic director George 'Butch' Joseph dies at 84

By ROGER BROWN
New Hampshire Union Leader

April 21. 2018 10:07PM
George "Butch" Joseph listens as former Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas dedicates a locker room at JFK Coliseum in Manchester to him in this January 2017 photo. Joseph died Saturday at 84. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader file photo)



For many, the name George "Butch" Joseph will always be synonymous with Manchester athletics, and, to a lesser degree, youth athletics throughout New Hampshire.

Joseph, who died Saturday at age 84, was well known for his tireless work as a coach, game official and athletic director. He officiated baseball, basketball and football, but his most prominent role in athletics may have been the eight-year stretch (1986-93) he worked as Manchester's athletic director.

Among his moves as the city AD was his decision to hire Jim Schubert as Central's varsity football coach. Joseph also refused to accept Schubert's resignation when Schubert attempted to step down after five seasons and a 9-33 record.

"He and my mother were very close, and my mother called him and told him to fire me," Schubert recalled. "I was questioning myself as a coach. He said I shouldn't to fire me," Schubert recalled. "I was questioning myself as a coach. He said I shouldn't quit on myself. He ripped up my resignation and told me to get out of his office."

Following that meeting, Schubert guided Central to six Division I state championships.

Joseph served as the director of the Manchester Babe Ruth League from 1977 to 1996, and was instrumental in bringing the Babe Ruth World Series to Manchester twice during his involvement with the league. More recently, he spearheaded a successful attempt to get two additional locker rooms built at the JFK Coliseum.

"He volunteered a lot of his time to high school hockey," Memorial hockey coach Mark Putney said. "There's a plaque at JFK naming those additional locker rooms for him, but he also revived the Manchester Christmas Tournament. He was responsible for that.

"Sports were his thing. He really had a lot of passion for sports and for kids - pushing them to succeed."

Joseph graduated from Manchester Central and then Keene State College, and played basketball in high school and college. He coached Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball, and served as the treasurer for the Class L Athletic Directors Association.

In addition to his time as the city AD - he also spent time as the interim AD beginning in 2000 - Joseph also worked as a school administrator in Manchester and Nashua.

"I thought he was the best AD the city ever had," Schubert said. "A real stand-up guy. He wasn't political and wasn't worried about political pressure. He always did what was in the best interests of the student-athletes in the city of Manchester.

"He touched a lot of people. He's going to be missed."

rbrown@unionleader.com


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