Butch Joseph was always coming to the rescue

New Hampshire sports lost a real good one over this past weekend.

Farewell, George “Butch” Joseph.

The former longtime major figure in New Hampshire sports passed away at the age of 84, and he will definitely be missed. Nearly 16 years ago, he came to Nashua’s rescue.

Joseph was a former Nashua school administrator who is best known for his tenure that followed just to the north as Manchester’s athletic director. But back in December of 2002, he was sitting back, enjoying retirement after a brilliant career.

But some 15 miles down the road, suddenly Nashua athletics was in a state of panic/turmoil. Not only was there the lurking spectre of The Split, due officially in the fall of 200, but suddenly it was an athletic department without a leader to take it forward.

Athletic director Jim Davis, the young but experienced administrator Nashua school officials had tabbed a couple of years earlier to replace the retiring longtime department head Al Harrington, shocked everyone with a mid-year resignation.

Davis, who came to Nashua after a stint as Salem High School’s AD, had a mid-year offer to immediately take over the athletic department in Belmont , Mass., a more affluent area with great facilities and, of course, more pay.

It was a no-brainer for Davis, as his decision shed immediate light on the fact that the Nashua AD job at the time wasn’t the prestigious position many had felt it was. There were better jobs out there, and the position really didn’t stabilize until the hiring of Lisa Gingras a few years ago. Davis, incidentally, is still at Belmont.

But back in December of 2002, the problem at hand was what to do. However, then- Nashua Superintendent Joe Giuliano had a brilliant idea. He put in a call to Joseph, to see if he’d take a few months away from retirment and help out his old employers.

Sure, he said. After all, he had done the same in Manchester a couple of years earlier.

Joseph, who set up shop in the offices that were at the building that is now Nashua High School North, kept the train’s engines running for the next six months while officials searched for Davis’s successor to take Nashua into the next important era. He kept the department going, took care of all the day-to-day things that ultimately always crop up, schedules, etc. A few months later, Nashua hired Angelo Fantasia (now at Timberlane) to lead the department into the North-South era. But everybody raved about the job Joseph did in those few months, and how great he was to be around.

In the last few years, Joseph came to the rescue again, this time for all of those – coaches, administrators, media – who closely followed high school hockey. Every day/night there were boys and girls games, mainly in Division I, the emails would come with the final scores. Also, sometimes the schedule ahead, including reschedulings, which are always the case in the winter. Oh, and let’s not forget updated – but as he always stressed, unofficial – standings. It was a big help.

He loved high school hockey, as he helped revive the Manchester Christmas tournament and helped get two new locker rooms built in JFK Coliseum. Butch Joseph was a tough guy to say no to.

Joseph made his mark really in Manchester, an eight year run as AD but also over 20 years in the city’s Babe Ruth program. At times he had that take-charge, tough exterior that you needed in those positions but more of a gentle inside than people probably thought. He never minced words, but he always saw the big picture.

It’s just not going to be the same next winter without those nightly emails. At one point this winter he sent one out apologizing that in a couple of nights he might not be sending any out because he’d be in the hospital. Lo and behold the next night those scores came in.

Once again, Butch Joseph came to the rescue, as he did throughout his career.

Tom King can be reached at 594-1251, tking@nashuatelegraph.com., or @Telegraph_TomK.