Butler Community College head football coach Troy Morrell, who guided the Grizzlies for 15 years and led the team to three national championships and 12 Jayhawk Conference titles, has announced his resignation, effective Jan. 5, 2015.

The surprising announcement came early Wednesday in a press release from Butler Community College.

In the press release, Morrell said he is leaving coaching to spend more time with his family and to pursue a career in private business.

“Troy has had an incredible impact on Butler football and Butler athletics as a whole,” athletic director Todd Carter said. “We are so grateful to have had Troy lead our program to so much success over the past 15 years — a run of success unprecedented nationally and in the history of the Jayhawk Conference. Troy will always be a part of the Butler family. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Associate head coach Steve Braet, who has coached Butler in each of its six national championship seasons dating back to 1981, has been named the interim head coach. He will lead the Butler program until a successor is named.

“We will have a new coach identified as soon as we possibly can,” said Vice President of Student Services Bill Rinkenbaugh. “We expect to find someone who can carry on the storied and unmatched tradition of Butler football.”

Under Morrell, Butler was 154-22 over the past 15 seasons. He has the highest winning percentage of any coach in NJCAA history. The Grizzlies won national championships in 2003, 2007 and 2008. Morrell was an assistant at Butler for four years before replacing James Shibest as head coach.

With Morrell as the offensive coordinator, Butler won national titles in 1998 and 1999. Butler is the only NJCAA program to win back-to-back titles on two different occasions.

Morrell’s is the top-rated program in the NJCAA since 2000, based on cumulative rankings in the final polls each season. Morrell’s winning percentage (.875) is the highest of any coach in Region VI history and is the highest in NJCAA history among coaches with at least 100 games coached.

Morrell is a former Grizzly player, earning academic All-American honors in 1990.

The following is a statement from Morrell:

“I am fortunate to be blessed in my career with many more wins than losses. This is a result of so many things. Great players and coaches who trusted and worked very hard within our system. An administration who is supportive. Fans and families who love and supported from near and far. I am extremely grateful for the support of our program from so many facets. I am thankful for James Shibest who hired me at Butler as a part time assistant in 1996. I am thankful for Curtis Hammeke, Bill Rinkenbaugh, Dr. Jackie Vietti and the board of trustees in 2000 who believed in hiring a 28-year old with no head coaching experience to lead this football program. Thanks to Todd Carter for his unwavering support. Thanks to Dr. Kimberly Krull for her support as well as the current and past board of trustees.

Thanks to all the families and high school coaches in Kansas and across the nation who have sent their kids to our program. Special thanks to Dr. Larry Abraham for his support as well as the GrizzlyBackers. Thanks so much to the people of El Dorado and the Wichita-metro area for the love and support of myself and my family. You all were significant in making Butler football a nationally-known program.”