Sam Buttrey: 5 Things To Know About The ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Competing In Masters Tournament

Sam Buttrey is not only a 'Jeopardy!' champion, but he's also a proud professor. Learn five interesting things about him here!

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  • Sam Buttrey is a professor known for his time on the hit show, Jeopardy!
  • Sam won the inaugural Professors Tournament in Dec. 2021.
  • He will be competing on Jeopardy! Masters starting on May 8, 2023, alongside other impressive contestants.

There are many impressive contestants that have appeared on Jeopardy! over the show’s 39 seasons, and Dr. Sam Buttrey is one of them! Not only did the associate professor win the first Professors Tournament in Dec. 2021, but he also won the grand prize of $100,000. Sam even earned a spot to compete in the Tournament of Champions from Oct. to Nov. 2022. Although he did not win that event, Sam is still an impressive contestant who will appear on Jeopardy! Masters beginning May 8, 2023. Below are five things to know about him!

Sam Buttrey
Sam Buttrey won ‘Jeopardy!’ Professors Tournament in 2021. (ABC)

1. Sam Buttrey Will Compete On ‘Jeopardy! Masters’

Sam is set to return to the famous Jeopardy! stage for the Masters edition of the program in May 2023. He will be joined by Matt Amodio, Andrew HeJames HolzhauerMattea Roach and Amy Schneider, to compete for the ultimate prize of being crowned the “Jeopardy! Masters Champion,” according to Parade. Being able to compete on this edition of the hit trivia show is an accomplishment itself, as only the true “masters” of the game show are able to participate.

2. He Previously Won The Professor’s Tournament In Dec. 2021

The beloved TV personality first became a Jeopardy! favorite in 2021 after Sam won the Professor’s Tournament. After he took home the $100K of winnings, the Naval Postgraduate School where he also works, reported that Sam and his wife, Elinda, took the money to start a scholarship endowment. They took “more than half of his $100,000 winnings” and applied to to the scholarship endowment at California State University, Monterey Bay.

Ahead of his time on TV, Sam first applied for the regular portion of Jeopardy!, only to end up on the Professor’s Tournament. “I had applied for the regular Jeopardy, not knowing that there was going to be a Professors’ Tournament,” he told the Resoundingly Human podcast. “In fact, I’m not sure they had decided at that point. I learned after the fact that during the course of the summer, there had been advertisements urging professors to sign up. I guess at some point, they decided to hold a special Professors Tournament.”

3. Sam Is Married

Sam is not only an impressive trivia buff, but he’s also a devoted husband. Per his official IMDb page, he is married to a woman named Elinda and they have one child together. His spouse even helped him prepare to compete on the show, which he gushed about during an Nov. 2021 interview with Monterey County Weekly. “My training is in statistics,” he explained at the time. “My wife helps me to train with ballet, arts and opera. I’m more of a science guy.”

4. He Is An Associate Professor

The Jeopardy! winner is not only a successful game show winner, but also an Associate Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, per his Linkedin account. Sam has had this role at the school since 1996 and will reach his 30th year in 2026. “All of us at NPS are tremendously proud of Sam for winning the inaugural ‘Jeopardy!’ Professors Tournament last year and for his deep run this year into the finals of the Tournament of Champions,” NPS President, retired Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau quipped in Nov. 2022.

“Sam’s colleagues and students know his wit and intellect first-hand, and I think his uplifting spirit came through on the show, amassing many fans across the country to cheer him on with us. Sam’s success reflects his – and all of our faculty and staff’s – deep dedication and service to our men and women in uniform studying here at NPS, preparing them as warrior-scholars to go back to the fleet and joint force to lead and make a difference in the defense of our nation.”

5. Sam Attended Two Prestigious Universities

In order to become a reigning champ of Jeopardy! it’s no surprise that Sam is a studious person. His first higher education experience was at the University of California, Berkeley, however the dates of this schooling is not known. Later, he attended the Phillips Exeter Academy from 1976 to 1979. Finally, Sam earned his AB in statistics from Princeton University, where he went to school from 1979 to 1983. There he also participated in sports and other activities, including Rugby and the Terrace Club.