Former Detroit Piston player-coach Donnis (“Donnie”) Butcher has passed away early morning of October 8th at age 76.
He was a beloved husband to wife Delorise, a dear father of one daughter Debra, who preceded him in death in 1996 and two sons Don and Denny. He was also a loving grandfather of seven grandchildren Brandon, John, Don Russell Jr., Daniel, Jordyn, Rielly, Andrew and five great grandchildren, William, Hannah, Blake, Sarah, and Rebekah.
Donnis was born and raised as one of sixteen children in Williamsport, Kentucky. He played collegiate basketball at Pikeville college where he was a two time All-American. He was drafted by the New York Knicks in 1961.
Notably he was credited with ten points during Wilt Chamberlain’s record setting 100 point game on March 2, 1962. In 1968 as head coach he lead the Detroit Pistons to a playoff berth which was one of his most proud moments as a professional. He coached NBA Hall of Famers Dave Debusschere and Dave Bing.
Donnis was a great husband, father, and friend. He will be greatly missed.
The WYMT sports department caught up with Donnis' son and men's basketball coach at the University of the Cumberlands Donnie Butcher and he released this statement on hi father.
"He has been the rock of our family for his entire life. Anything that I have done, or my brother or sister has done. We always looked to him for guidance, in all matters, not just athletically. Obviously, he is a legend for what he has done athletically. But spiritually, our maturity is due to him. He'll be tremendously missed. I'll miss him everyday. And, but soon, we'll be together again sometime. But we appreciate all the kindness that the people of Kentucky and up in the Michigan way have shown in his behalf."
Visitation will be held on Thursday, October 11 and Friday, October 12 from 4:00pm-9:00pm at PHILLIPS FUNERAL HOME, 122 W. Lake St., South Lyon, MI 48178. Funeral services and burial will take place in Williamsport, Kentucky. Online guestbook at www.phillipsfuneral.com