When legendary Coach Tony Hinkle first touted The Butler Way, it was the pinnacle for which to strive—not just on the court, but throughout life, long after hanging up the uniform. The Butler Way demands commitment, denies selfishness and accepts reality, yet seeks constant improvement while promoting the good of the team above self.
Joel Cornette ’03 embodied The Butler Way both during his time at Butler University and his post-graduate years. He was a member of the first Bulldog Sweet 16 team in 2003; his 144 career blocks and .544 career field goal percentage also rank among the Top 10 in Butler history. He later served as a member of the Butler coaching staff from for the 2006–2007 season as the team’s Coordinator of Basketball Operations before going to Iowa as a member of Todd Lickliter’s staff. He was an NBPA-certified player-agent, serving as the Director of Basketball recruiting for Priority Sports since January 2012.
Tragically, Cornette passed away of natural causes last August at age 35. It was a loss that shook his family and friends to the core, as well as both the Butler community and peers in the world of athletics.
In the wake of such an inexplicable loss, those who loved him most chose to commemorate him in a means of which they knew he would approve. The Joel Cornette Scholarship Fund was established by his family and Butler University to provide support for future Bulldogs.
“Through the generous support of our donors, we’ve been able to establish this scholarship program/fund, that will guarantee there will be monies available for deserving student athletes now and into the future,” said Ken LaRose, Associate Athletic Director for Development. “We are able to pay tribute to these special people while offering the gift of education to our student athletes.”
As a testament to this inspiring young man, at least five Butler head coaches (past and present), immediately donated to the fund along with scores of others, expediting the scholarship to be fully funded at the endowed level of $50,000.
“We could never out give what he gave to the institution,” said Todd Lickliter, Cornette’s coach while at Butler. “It was such an honor to have been involved with him, and the scholarship will continue his good works.”
Lickliter points to a well-known mantra often emphasized by former Lacy School of Business Dean Richard Fetter: “If you do well, do good.”
“Joel did both,” he said. “He epitomized what it meant to be a true student athlete. Not only did he earn a distinguished degree, but he opened the door for others through his play on the court as well as his ability to articulate his vision and what Butler meant to him. He naturally drew people to the institution. He did well, and he did good.”
Contributions in Joel’s honor may be made online or by check to Butler University Advancement, 4600 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46208.