Pop quiz: When was the last time Butler hired a head coach from outside of the program?
Go ahead, think about it. I’ll give you some time. Here’s the Jeopardy music. You have until it ends.
Give up? It was Barry Collier in 1989. The Bulldogs have had five coaches since Collier. All five were promoted from within. Collier, who is now the AD at Butler since 2006, hired three of those five coaches.
Simply put, Butler has a long track record with head coaching hires, and we have a pretty good idea of what they like to do with them.
It should come as no surprise that FanRag’s Jon Rothstein said Friday afternoon that this is in fact the plan for Butler.
It seems fairly cut and dry, but ESPN’s Jeff Goodman seems to have a bit of an issue with the potential strategy, as shown in his tweets below.
Let’s break this down. Brad Stevens was one of the best moves in college basketball history. Goodman and I are in agreement on that point. From there, things take a turn. Invoking Brandon Miller in this argument after Miller coached just one season before resigning with a vaguely worded “health issues” reasoning seems a bit unfair. While Butler did go 14-17 in Miller’s lone season, their first in the Big East, there’s no telling how he would have been in the future.
Saying the Bulldogs “lucked into” Chris Holtmann is kind of irrelevant, too. He was there, he was the best man for the job, he got the job, it worked. So, while Collier’s next move isn’t guaranteed to be a success by any means (no such thing exists in college basketball), his track record is far better than Goodman is presenting it.
The popular name amongst the national media types is Tom Crean. It makes sense, in a way. Crean was a pretty good coach who got a raw deal at Indiana and he’s still unemployed, so he doesn’t have the hard decision of leaving a program behind. When you’re starting a coaching search this late in the offseason, a guy like Crean seems like a good fit.
But... so is promoting someone from within.
My prediction for Butler’s hire is simple: It will be someone from within, the media will be underwhelmed by the person, and the Bulldogs will win at least 65 games in the next three seasons. We have 20 years of evidence to go off of at this point, and far be it from me to argue with it.