Butler Basketball Coaches
A small Indiana college has transformed from mid-major spoiler to major basketball power thanks to the efforts of several Butler basketball coaches over the past decade. True, it means we are subject to never-ending puns proclaiming that "the Butler did it" every time Butler accomplishes some great feat. But it is a small price to pay for the chance to watch one of the little guys make it big time. These are the coaches who helped shape the Bulldogs into a team capable of making back-to-back NCAA Championship game appearances:
- Tony Hinkle: The man for whom Butler's home arena is named. Hinkle coached from 1926 to 1970, except for a three-year stint in World War II, and compiled more than 1,000 combined victories at the school in basketball, football and baseball by the time of his retirement.
- Barry Collier: Long before he became the school's athletic director, Collier got Butler going in the right direction on the basketball court. He served as the Bulldogs' head coach for 11 seasons from 1989 to 2000 before leaving to coach at Nebraska an additional six seasons. Prior to his tenure, Butler compiled just two 20-win seasons in its history. In his last four seasons coaching at Butler, Collier guided the Bulldogs to a 90-39 record and his teams earned four consecutive postseason tournament appearances. He has the second-highest win total in Butler history, with an 11-year record of 196-132.
- Thad Matta: The current Ohio State coach lasted just one season at Butler before moving on to Xavier. But he made his stay with the Bulldogs a memorable one. In his only season, Matta guided Butler to a then-school record of 24 victories and a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Matta was named coach of the year in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference.
- Todd Lickliter: Iowa fans do not remember him fondly, but it is safe to say Lickliter is still popular in Indianapolis. In six years at Butler, he guided the Bulldogs to four 20-win seasons and a pair of NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. Lickliter laid the foundation for even bigger things to come by turning the program into a consistent postseason threat. Overall, he compiled an impressive 131-61 mark during his time at Butler.
- Brad Stevens: Simply one of the best coaches in the game today. Major universities have tried to woo Stevens away. Why would he go? In a short time, he has built Butler into a national power. The Bulldogs are in select company after reaching the NCAA Championship game in back-to-back seasons. Stevens can take a big dose of credit for it. He has averaged 29 victories a season in four years in Indianapolis and has compiled an overall record of 117-25. His teams boast an impressive 11-4 mark in the NCAA Tournament during that span and have won at least a share of the Horizon League title all four seasons.