WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – An athletic six-footer who earned All-New England recognition in two distinctively different sports, Jennifer A. (Butts) Hounshell ’01 is the second announced inductee into the E-Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018, it has been confirmed by committee chair Scott Smith.
A native of New Bedford, MA and a 1996 graduate of Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech, Butts was named All-New England as a junior in the fall of 1998 as a right-side hitter in volleyball, and in track & field, earned All-New England recognition in the shot put both indoors and outdoors in 1997-98.
Butts is only the second weight event athlete from the women’s track & field program to gain induction – first since the 1996 induction of Eastern All-America Bonnie Edmondson, an Olympic Trials qualifier. She joins Stephanie Altman Anderson ’01 – previously announced – as a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
The 25th E-Club Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 20 at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center. A 4 p.m. reception will precede the 5 p.m. ceremony. A buffet meal will be available following the ceremony. Tickets are priced at $50 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at firstname.lastname@example.org visit the Hall of Fame website at https://easternct.prestosports.com/Hall_of_Fame/index
Butts was a four-year regular in the lineup in volleyball between 1996 and 1999– where she was recruited and played her freshman season under E-Club Hall of Fame coach Floretta Crabtree – and was part of teams which qualified on an at-large basis for three NCAA tournaments and which won the first Little East Conference regular-season title ever contested (with a 7-0 record) and three straight LEC playoff titles. As a junior in 1998, she was named to the AVCA All-New England Region team, was a second-team All-New England pick by NEWVA, and earned All-Little East Conference honors for the first of two times in her career.
In track & field, Butts competed in the high jump, and threw the shot put, 20-pound weight indoors and the hammer outdoors before a wrist injury ended her track & field career at the conclusion of her junior indoor season in 1998-99.
In her first career indoor meet in January of 1997, Butts qualified for the New England Division III Championships in the shot with a distance of 35-6, and in her first-ever outdoor meet two months later, qualified for the New England meet with winning marks of 4-10 in the high jump and 37-6 ½ in the shot.
In addition to earning All-New England honors in the shot put twice in 1997-98, Butts captured the shot title both indoors and outdoors in the first Little East Conference/New England Alliance Track & Field Championships ever held that year. In that meet, her outdoor mark of 38-2 ¼ remained the meet record for more than a decade and her indoor distance of 38-9 ½ held up until 2006.
In what proved to be her final track season in the 1998-99 indoor season, Butts repeated as the LEC/NEA shot put champion and claimed the weight throw with a career-best toss of 45-5 3/4 (which remains the third-best throw in program history). In her final outdoor season the prior year in 1998, Butts placed second in the hammer in the LEC/NEA Championships, and was eighth in the shot and 12th in the hammer at the ECAC Division III Championships.
At the time of graduation, Butts had recorded the second-best distances in program history in the hammer (132-0) and weight (45-5 ¾) and shot put (40-5 ½). Her shot mark remains the second-best all-time and her hammer and weight distances are currently third. Although she competed in the high jump only briefly, her height of 4-10 stands as the 14th-best in program-history.
With Butts, the women’s volleyball program compiled a four-year overall record of 96-56 (63.2 percent) and amassed a 23-2 record in the Little East – 13-1 in the LEC regular season and 10-1 in the conference tournament. In her junior season of 1998, the Warriors were ranked No. 1 New England in the first two polls of the year -- and among the Top 10 all year – and were 16th and 15th, respectively, in the first two AVCA national polls of the year. That team compiled the second-best winning percentage (.809) in New England Division III that year with a final 34-8 record which included a 15-match winning streak when it opened with a 16-1 record.
During her All-New England season of 1998 – when she was named first-team All-LEC at right-side hitter -- Butts finished as the LEC leader in kills (432) and kills per set (3.09) and was third with a .301 attack percentage.
As a sophomore in 1997, Butts was named Little East tournament MVP when she led the Warriors to three straight match sweeps (allowing double-digit points in a set only once). In eight sets in that tournament, Butts collected 23 kills and a .370 attack percentage, 12 digs, ten service aces and five blocks.
A second-team All-LEC selection as a senior, Butts was named the program’s first sole captain since its first intercollegiate season in 1975, was ranked 20th nationally and No. 3 in New England in blocks per set (1.23) and at season’s end, was voted one of New England Division III’s top 24 seniors with a berth in the NEWVA Senior Classic.
In her final three seasons, Butts appeared in 112 of the team’s 113 matches and in 380 of 391 sets. In her final two years, she led or shared the team lead both years in kills, kills per game, attack percentage and blocks per game.
Butts’ 101 block assists as a senior established a program season record and remains No. 2 all-time today, with her 141 total blocks that year currently fourth all-time. Against Keene State as a junior, her attack percentage of .846 (11-0-13) stands as a current three-set match record.
Through 2017, Butts still ranks among the Top 10 all-time in sets, points, kills, attack percentage, block solos, block assists and total blocks, with her block assist total of 285 still the program’s top number, and her362 total block mark second only to 2011 E-Club Hall of Fame inductee Kathy Kimball ’96.
Butts holds a B.A. Degree in Graphic Design from Eastern and an M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Central Connecticut. She has been employed for the last two years at the Center for Discovery in Maitland, FL, where she is the program director, and is co-owner and primary therapist at Bumblebee Wellness. Jenn and wife Danielle reside in Casselberry, FL with daughters Kieran and Shay.