22 days after getting knocked out of the Big East Tournament in their third loss of the season to the Providence Friars, the Butler Bulldogs are looking for a new Head Basketball Coach.
That’s not just for the Men’s team at Butler, but also the Women. Kurt Godlevske was let go after a one win season and eight years at the helm.
But the bomb was dropped earlier on Friday morning when it was announced that Barry Collier and Butler had fired LaVall Jordan.
This is a rare event at Butler. Even more rare when you factor in that neither basketball program has a coach right now. But in their history, Butler has only fired a Men’s Basketball coach one other time. Joe Sexson in 1989. Ironically after Sexson, Barry Collier became Butler’s head man.
Though they have now been fired by the same institution, Joe Sexson and LaVall Jordan have no other commonalities.
Sexson never coached in an NCAA Tournament. Butler was a member of the Indiana Collegiate Conference then. If ‘collegiate’ was not in the name, that would sound like some random IHSAA high school conference. Sexson also was the head baseball coach at Purdue at one point in his career. The guy did not have the pressure or the ability to coach like Jordan was supposed to.
LaVall Jordan will always be a Butler Bulldog no matter what.
Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for him or the school. Of course, he would have made the NCAA Tournament in 2020, if COVID did not provide us with other plans.
That ultimately was the kiss of death for Jordan. If Butler made a deep run in March Madness that year with Kamar Baldwin leading the squad, I’m probably not writing this and LaVall would’ve signed a juicy extension.
That’s the way it goes sometimes.
Butler’s play this year could not allow Jordan to continue on the sidelines at Hinkle Fieldhouse. It wasn’t all of his fault, it wasn’t all on the players, but everybody in the locker room shared part of the blame. As usually the case in College Hoops, it’s the coach that takes the sword.
With Jordan out and Collier now tasked with making yet another head coaching hire, where does he turn?
He of course hired Brad Stevens and history ensued, Brandon Miller’s one year replacing Stevens was a disaster, Chris Holtmann brought the Bulldogs back to prominence, and now after Jordan’s tenure, Butler is trying to claw their way back to what Holtmann brought them to.
Here are the four names I’d most like to see on Collier’s wish list.
1) Thad Matta
If Thad Matta is not your number one, I have questions.
Clearly Thad did not have a solid ending with Ohio State and his health was a major factor. But now according to Gregg Doyel’s column in the IndyStar, Matta is back working out everyday and seems to be better. Does that mean he can handle patrolling the sidelines again? That’s to be determined.
Clearly in Matta’s time spent in Bloomington with the Indiana Hoosiers, Dane Fife’s time has been cut short. Does Mike Woodson still want Thad there?
Matta had a daughter graduate from Butler and the other goes there right now. This is about as cookie cutter of a hire that Collier is going to get. Pay the man.
Ohio’s Jeff Boals has been a name that has been circling around Hinkle as well. And it certainly may be him, but his name falls under the umbrella of Matta for me. Boals was Thad’s longtime top assistant at Ohio State.
2) Mark Turgeon
To be fair, this is dipping way far into the well of wishes. But I want Mark Turgeon.
The former head coach at Maryland has been out of coaching for about half a year now, and if he’s willing to take a pay cut, he can have Butler back to prominence in no time. Turgeon’s aggressive style and pressing defensive coaching would gel so well in the Big East.
Turgeon also used to be the coach at Wichita State before going to Texas A&M and Maryland, so he would understand a market like Butler.
If Collier can convince the University to hand him a blank check, Turgeon would be a home run hire. No, he doesn’t have any affiliation with the University, but hiring within the Butler family clearly hasn’t gone too well recently.
3) Ronald Nored
You want to talk about intensity?
Imagine getting the guy that was the heartbeat of the greatest basketball rosters that Butler has ever groomed together. Ronald Nored is clearly a future head coach somewhere. Is that in college? Is that in the NBA?
Clearly Rick Carlisle loves him, considering he tried to hire Nored away from the Charlotte Hornets to come coach in Dallas the year before Carlisle took the Pacers job. Nored would not only have the alumni base in mind, but Brad Stevens would be in his back pocket.
Butler fans, you want Stevens back on the sidelines? Nored is the closest you’re going to get. The only thing that concerns me about him is recruiting. Considering he has never built his own staff and has not needed to be a massive recruiter, that could be troublesome.
4) John Groce
Speaking of getting back to what you know, Holtmann would be perfect (again) for Butler. Unfortunately, there’s no shot he leave Ohio State.
Want the closest thing to Holt? Bring in John Groce.
It’s no secret that Groce laid an egg in his first major college coaching opportunity as a number one. His tenure at Illinois left much to be desired. But he just got Akron back to the NCAA Tournament in the MAC, and they gave UCLA a hell of a game in the first round.
Groce would be cheaper, can recruit, runs magical out of bounds plays, and would know the historical factor of coaching at a place like Butler. Groce was Holtmann’s teammate at Taylor University under the legendary Paul Patterson.
Groce wouldn’t be a sexy hire, but he’d be a smart one.