The Boston Celtics pulled a surprising move by hiring former Butler basketball coach Brad Stevens today and it’s a move that will hurt the new Big East brand of basketball. I have no idea if Stevens is going to be a good coach in the NBA but I do know that he was a great coach for Butler and the Big East just lost him.
It may take a few years to feel it but the loss of Stevens hurts the Big East conference because it needs Butler to be a strong addition to the new conference. The Big East has strong traditional teams still in the conference but some of the appeal in the new teams was the strength they brought to the league. By adding promising and successful programs like Butler and Xavier, the Big East kept a solid basketball league together and was able to score a big financial commitment from the Fox Sports Network in part because of the reach the new additions to the league brought throughout the mid-west region.
By losing Butler, a university that has become one of the best small school basketball programs around, the Big East has lost some of its appeal. With Stevens, the Bulldogs are legitimate contenders for the Big East title. His resume speaks for itself and it stood to reason that with their arrival in a new power league, Butler would be able to recruit better players and make them into a very good team in college basketball every year. Without Stevens, it could make sustaining success a challenge.
Butler will surely move on with a good coach and recruits will still want to play at Butler because of the Big East brand, so it’s not like all is lost for either the team or the conference. However, Stevens had a proven track record of success and now it’s anybody’s guess on just how good Butler will be. It will also affect Big East basketball in the near future, although hopefully it won’t make a huge difference.
It’s never good to lose a great coach on a good team, and the Big East will feel the sting of losing Brad Stevens.
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