You’ll be seeing Butch Pedersen on the sidelines this fall. He guarantees it.
Though it might not be at West Branch, and it might not be as a head coach.
Pedersen said Monday night that he is taking early retirement as a teacher and coach at the school in order to take optimal advantage of his IPERS (Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System). The 62-year-old hall of famer is 246-60 in 29 years at West Branch.
“Do I plan on coaching in the future? No question,” Pedersen said. “I feel like I still have a lot of coaching left in me.”
But he’s up in the air as to where that coaching future might be. His contract at West Branch runs out May 31, then, via his IPERs agreement, he must wait a month until pursuing another position.
That still could be at West Branch as an independent contractor, of sorts. Or it could be somewhere else, maybe even college.
Pedersen won’t rule anything out at this point.
“It’s all rather vague right now,” he said. “I’m going to weigh my options, see what other options are out there.”
Pedersen built one of the best prep football programs in the state at West Branch. His teams have won conference or district championships 16 times, have been to the state playoffs 19 times, including nine appearances in the semifinals and three state titles.
He has been named a conference or district coach of the year 11 times and was state coach of the year in 1991. Pedersen also was head girls’ basketball coach at West Branch from 1977 to 1982 and head boys’ coach from 1986 to 2002.
“I think we’ve done a good job working with a bunch of great kids, great parents and a great community,” Pedersen said.