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Coach Rick Butler again facing lifetime ban from USA Volleyball

Rick Butler

It’s the match of Rick Butler’s life.

In 1995, Butler, one of the most dominant youth volleyball coaches in the country, survived the kind of scandal now bringing down powerful men on a near-daily basis: claims that he had sexual relationships with underage female players who saw him as their golden ticket to college scholarships and Olympic glory.

That year, the sport’s national governing body, USA Volleyball, banned Butler from its ranks. But the ban didn’t stick, helping Butler, now 63, go on to coach more than 20,000 teenage girls. The Aurora-based club he built, Sports Performance Volleyball, boasts four Olympic medalists and nearly 100 national championships.

Throughout it all, Butler’s original accusers, all from Chicago’s western suburbs, have refused to remain silent. Now one of them, Sarah Powers-Barnhard, herself a coach, has challenged Butler on the volleyball court — and in a court of law.

Meanwhile, a fourth accuser alleging inappropriate sexual behavior by Butler has come to light amid a five-month long Chicago Sun-Times investigation of his volleyball empire. To read the full story, click here.