Butte coach Jim Patrick dies at 81

The Mining City has lost a coaching legend.

Jim Patrick, who once coached the likes of Sonny Holland, Bob O’Billovich, Gary Carle, Mick Dennehy, Sonny Lubick and Bob Petrino, passed away. He was 81.

Longtime Patrick friend Dale Burgman, the head volleyball coach at Butte High, said Patrick was found at his home on Tuesday afternoon. Burgman said he likely died Saturday or Sunday. He said the cause of death is not known.

Patrick coached virtually every sport at one time in Butte. He was still the freshman coach of the Butte High volleyball team at the time of his death.

He was an assistant coach of the Butte Central state softball champions of 1997, 1999 and 2000. The ’99 and 2000 teams went undefeated.

Patrick took over for head coach Meg Murphy and led the Maroons through the 2012 season. Despite only having 10 players on his team in 2009, Patrick’s Maroons placed second at the Class A state tournament in Polson.

Former Patrick player Angela Piazzola, a 2012 Butte Central graduate, started four seasons for the Maroons. She wrote a paper on the amazing career of her coach during her senior season.

That paper was turned into one of the first stories on ButteSports.com in August 2012.

Here is that story:

The legacy of coach Jim Patrick


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  • Guy
    March 4, 2014, 8:19 pm

    He coached my daughter through her first year of volleyball this year. She said before the season started she didn’t think he liked her so she wouldn’t make the team. He picked her to be on his freshman team, and much to my delight, proceeded to make her life miserable!! He coached the kids hard because he cared about them. I didn’t know him that well but what I knew I loved about the man. Condolences to those who were closest to him.

  • Diane McGee
    March 4, 2014, 9:33 pm

    Jim Patrick was a great man and cousin! He will be greatly missed.

  • Katrina
    March 4, 2014, 9:59 pm

    He will be greatly missed. 🙁 He has taught me so much in the last five years that we coached together. He lived for coaching and he loved those girls more than anything. And his garden!! 🙂 It won’t be the same without him and I will miss him dearly. R.I.P. Mr. P. <3

  • Tammi Kinman McDaniel
    March 4, 2014, 10:35 pm

    Jim Patrick was like a 2nd father to me. I grew up being coached by him in one sport or another from the Madison elementary school through Butte High School. I will never forget the many miles traveled in the the back of his old green truck. Because of this great man, I, and so many other athletes, were given the tools to move on to the college ranks. Not only did he prepare you for the next competition, but for life itself. The term “Butte Tough” sums up every athlete that was ever fortunate enough to have him as a coach. This is a sad day for me and a sad day for Butte. We have lost an icon that can never be replaced by another. Sports were his life and he loved his players. One might say that he is officially retired now because as long as he was able he was going to coach until the end. Rest in peace dear man. You will be sorely missed.

  • Sheila
    March 5, 2014, 6:18 am

    Our family had the great fortune of having Mr.Patrick coach our children. He was so good to us. We are going to miss Mr P’s fresh veggies from his amazing garden. God Bless you!!!


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