Butler’s Brad Stevens may very well be one of the best college basketball coaches we will ever see pace the sidelines.
The 36-year old almost has a .800 winning percentage along with his two Final Four appearances that led the Bulldogs to two national championship games in a row.
If he continues the success that has built Butler into a national contender from the humble beginnings of a cute little mid-major, he may very well have a Brinks money truck in his driveway with an offer he cannot resist.
Living in Indiana, as a sports fan I can tell you, one thing is certain; Indiana Hoosiers basketball is back and people still treat Butler like the shy little brother.
It used to be the magical small school story. Now, it’s the dreaded nightmare of reality that the Bulldogs expect to be making final four runs in March.
All thanks to one man; No, not former head coach Thad Matta, Brad Stevens, ladies and gentlemen.
In the midst of all of this there has always been a lingering question in my mind about Stevens. Not so much as to when, but rather, where will Stevens go next? Indiana is not even a reality and it gets very old hearing some of the local IU fans demand his name when Tom Crean has been outcoached in a close game. But with all due respect to Butler, well deserved respect at that, unless Stevens pulls off another Final Four run that ends in a national championship I don’t see him remaining content and satisfied.
No coach is going to stay at a school just because that school gave him his start and regardless of how many sweet 16s, elite eight and Final Four appearances Butler has if there are no national championship banners hanging inside historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, Bulldog fans should not expect Stevens to remain on their sideline as if he owes them anything for his first head coaching position.
With that being said, Stevens still has enough about him to try and make it happen at Butler until all options have been exhausted. Therefore, there are only five schools that Brad Stevens would ever leave Butler for and most of them they all have one thing in common: money.
Despite 14 straight tournament appearances, one Final Four, three elite eight appearances and two Naismath and Wooden national players of the year, Rick Barnes’ days could be numbered at Texas after the meltdown of a season he and the Longhorns have experienced this year. Oh, by the way, Texas makes the more money per year than any other school. If Stevens ever finds himself making more money per year than any other coach has ever made it will be at Texas.
The other four schools aren’t in need of a coach, but, soon will be and while they have the money to lure in Stevens, it’s the stage and the legacy that would more than likely entice Stevens to take an offer. An offer that I have no doubt will be made if he is still at Butler and the position is open.
North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse and Michigan State will all be opening in the next five to 10 years when Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzrewski, Jim Boeheim and Tom Izzo, respectively, step down from their long successful tenures as college basketball icons as head coaches.
It is but a thought for now. Perhaps it never even becomes a discussion. Perhaps Butler does go on to more Final Fours and wins a few national championships. Maybe Stevens wants to make a name for his self at one place and build something like coach K, Rick Barnes and Tom Izzo have built at their respective schools; I don’t know what the future holds, if I did I would be the greatest sports journalist ever and luckiest gambler to step foot in a Las Vegas casino in history.
But I can tell you this much, when schools like Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse and Michigan State call, you answer.
When Texas calls, you go to the bank and open another account because your salary will soon exceed limitations.