The Butler Bulldogs’ historic Men’s Basketball Final Four® tournament runs in 2010 and 2011 helped solidify Butler University as a household name. A particular spotlight was placed upon the University when the 2010 championship game was held in Indianapolis. The media told its stories right from our campus, portraying Butler as a true Cinderella story, playing a historic game in its own backyard. The nation was captivated and Butler made its mark.
Besides the “David and Goliath in the heart of basketball country” portrayal, an aspect of the story that resonated with many Butler fans—aside from our team’s grit and love for the game—was the widely reported story of the Butler players’ commitment to their studies. Indeed, on the morning of the championship game, members of our Men’s Basketball Team were in class, completing homework, and taking tests before riding the bus from campus to Lucas Oil Stadium. Even in the wake of a national championship game, these young men prioritized being students first and athletes second.
As a side note, a few years later Coach Brad Stevens shared with me that while he insisted the team attend class, he observed that very few other Butler students seemed to be in class that day! I am sure it was difficult for all Butler students, including members of the team, to concentrate on academics in the midst of the excitement and the energy level on campus that day. Perhaps faculty and alumni from 2010 can help set the record straight about what they were doing that April day in 2010.
Dial the clock forward to this fall when the NCAA recognized Butler student-athletes for achieving a 93 percent graduation rate for the second year in a row, which is above the national average. Even more notable, 11 Butler programs—Men’s Basketball, Women’s Swimming and Diving, Softball, Men’s and Women’s Golf, Men’s and Women’s Tennis, and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country/Track and Field—posted perfect 100 percent graduation success rates last year.
I am so proud of our student-athletes in every sport for continually excelling in the classroom and the community, on top of managing a busy schedule filled with early morning practices, travel, and team obligations.
In this issue, you’ll explore some of the stories and the people that have shaped Butler’s athletics department and, in turn, how Butler athletics has shaped them, too. As we sit on the precipice of some exciting plans for Butler Athletics,
I hope these stories remind you of the reason we are committed to supporting a vibrant, competitive future for our student-athletes.