We had a clown from Boston come at us on Twitter for some reason when we reacted to the Brad Stevens hire by the Cs. We're both pretty big fans of Stevens; really tough not to be. He's a class act that did the seemingly-impossible by taking Butler to two national title games STRAIGHT. The guy can coach, and his demeanor seems to be ideal for the job.
Barry Collier and Brad Stevens helped engineer Butler's rapid ascent through the college basketball world. Collier has made all the right decisions on whom should run his program...and the former Bulldog coach helped Butler leapfrog from the Horizon to the A10 to the new Big East. But now, hiring an assistant off of Butler's bench seems like a mile-long shot as Matthew Graves has left his alma mater to be head coach at South Alabama (hired in March). Yesterday, he reassured everyone that he's staying put in his new post and wouldn't be a candidate at Butler.
|Who knows...maybe the changes at Butler will eventually lead to our pal Ryne (out of focus in the background) coaching at Butler?|
That leaves Butler with a pair of coaches in Michael Lewis and Terry Johnson who simply aren't ready for the bright lights of a legit basketball conference. This is where this story gets close to Purdue- Stevens' old head assistant coach, Micah Shrewsberry would seem to be a logical target for the post. But, Coach Shrews is still pretty green...and my hope is he isn't even in Collier's rolodex at this point.
I think it's fairly obvious that Shrewsberry will be a head coach again someplace in the next few seasons. He can recruit, is a great ambassador for wherever he works and has coached under some pretty successful coaches in Stevens and Painter. Before Purdue and Butler though, he had been an assistant coach for U. Indy, Wabash and Depauw, and had a brief head coaching stint at IU South Bend.
Friends of mine at Butler tell me that it seems that UM's LaVall Jordan looks to be the guy...and the reports of him interviewing at Butler are legit. If Collier pulls the trigger and hires Jordan, this might have an effect on Purdue yet again as Jordan has been the recruiting spearhead for Beilein the last few seasons...and a few recruits that Painter wants to see in black and gold are leaning toward UM at this point.
The effects of Stevens wisely taking the Boston job could be positive for Purdue...but who really knows. What I do know is that college basketball lost a great coach to a league that I can barely watch; that's the shame of it for me. While I'm surrounded by Butler grads, I still am not much of a fan of Butler...but I couldn't help but root for Stevens. Now it'll be easier to resume not caring too much about Butler's basketball program once again (if they hire Jordan).
That said, I still marvel at Butler's ability to simply plug and play coach after coach after coach. In the time that Purdue has had two coaches, Butler has had five. Collier's success as a head coach really made Butler's program noteworthy because he took Butler to their first three NCAA tournaments (starting in '97)..but his successors took the next step. Matta, Lickliter and Stevens had a composite winning percentage of 68%. There's no question that The Butler Way, which Collier credits to Tony Hinkle, has some credence. While some of the ideas of the philosophy that has built Butler's program are Hinkle's, there's no question that the architect is really Collier. He's in a pretty unenviable spot right now though.
A friend of mine is a booster at Butler and he thinks if Jordan is hired, Butler should give thought to hiring Gene Keady as a consultant or assistant that would help mentor the young coaching staff there. I'd love to see that happen and think Keady would bring some wisdom to an extremely young bench...but once again, I'd be forced to kinda root for Butler to succeed; something I'd rather not do.
J just posted his fear of Stevens ending up back in college basketball clad in the hideous blood red and off-white...and I can't think of worse scenario for Purdue fans. So as of right now, I'm rooting for Stevens to beat the odds by making a successful jump from college to the league and making me actually care about the NBA for the first time in over a decade. Here's to the Good Witch of Zionsville kicking ass Boston.