Should Recruits Look at Butler Any Different with a New Coach?

Brad Stevens Hired as New Boston Celtics Coach

The Boston Celtics have hired the Butler Bulldogs men’s basketball coach, Brad Stevens, as the Celtics’ new head coach. This hiring is coming a week after Doc Rivers was introduced as the Los Angeles Clippers’ new head coach.

Brad Stevens, only 36 years-old, will have his hands full in Boston. Not only did the Celtics trade away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, but Stevens will also contend with a dejected fan base. However, I have no doubts in Stevens, as he has proven his ability to build a winning team, like he displayed at Butler by winning at least 22 games in every one of his six seasons in charge, including two Final Fours. Nevertheless, his coaching skills will definitely be put to the test at the NBA level. The basketball program at Butler is earning a better reputation since their coach was hired at the NBA level. That sure says a lot about his success with the program, and that is something recruits should definitely take note of.

So, should college basketball recruits look any differently at Butler basketball now that Brad Stevens is gone? No. The Butler Bulldogs have risen to national prominence in recent years, but the program has been successful for a long time. The Butler basketball program has only had two losing seasons since 1990. Since 1990, Butler has been run by four different coaches, and every one of those coaches instilled a standard of success and winning tradition. From 1990-2000, Barry Collier was the head of the basketball program, and he ended his tenure in 2000 with a 196-132 final record. For the 2000-2001 season, Thad Matta took over the program, and earned a 24-8 record. The last coach before Stevens was Todd Lickliter, who led the Bulldogs to a 131-61 record, from 2001-2007. Finally, Brad Stevens coached Butler from 2007-2013, and ended with a 166-49 record.  As you can tell from these records, this standard of success has been achieved, and it is that standard that continues to attract talented recruits to this mid-major program. Butler also has started a trend in producing NBA-caliber talent. Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz and Shelvin Mack of the Atlanta Hawks are current players in the NBA that attended Butler University. Current recruits should take note of all the success the Bulldogs have enjoyed throughout the history of the program. It is not common that a mid-major program, such as Butler, can have continued success throughout the regular season and NCAA tournament.

This 2013-2014 season, Butler will be making the move to the Big East. This adds to this program’s resume. Now, Butler is playing in one of the top tier major conferences in the country.  The Bulldogs are ready to compete for the conference title right away in the Big East, and they are certainly looking to continue their success. For recruits, this move to a larger conference should assure you that this program is the real deal. Butler has a reputation for bringing in extremely knowledgeable coaches that inspire and drive their teams to victory.  Once the Bulldogs get settled into the Big East, it is scary to picture what they will be able to do in a couple of years down the road, even without Brad Stevens.

So, I’ll ask the question one more time: Should high school basketball recruits look at Butler basketball any different now that Brad Stevens is gone? Not in the slightest.