The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame’s “Tennessean of the Year” award often is presented to business and civic leaders who have continued to support athletics in our state. Jake F. Butcher fits this description perfectly and was the well-deserved recipient of the award in 1983.
Butcher’s interest in sports began in Union County at Horace Maynard High School, where he lettered in three sports: football, baseball, and basketball from 1951 to 1953. His college years and sports career at the University of Tennessee were interrupted by service in the U.S. Marine Corps. But he continued his interest in baseball, playing on the First Marine Division team, which was runner-up of the All-Japan Series in the Far Eastern Theatre during 1956.
After his stint in the Marines and a return to college, Butcher remained in Knoxville, where he became a successful businessman. In fact, Butcher was voted as Knoxville’s Most Outstanding Business Community Leader in 1980 and was twice the recipient of the Knoxville Salesman of the Year award. His ties to sports have been strong.
In 198,2 Butcher was instrumental in promoting the First Annual United American Celebrity/Pro Tennis Classic, and he was also a major stockholder in the Memphis Americans, a Major Indoor Soccer League team.
An example in his community, Butcher was honored in 1980 with the Community Service Award by the City of Knoxville. An upstanding citizen and sports fan, Jake F. Butcher is truly a Tennessee champion.