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Max

That's the Ticket

Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

In October 1956, Schumacher was finishing a two-year stint in the Army and thinking about what to do with his Journalism degree from Butler. He picked up a copy of the Indianapolis Star—he had his subscription forwarded to Fort Sheridan, Illinois, where he was stationed—and read a one-paragraph news brief reporting that Marjorie Smyth, the ticket manager for the Indianapolis Indians baseball team, was leaving. 

Schumacher called his mentor, J.R. Townshend Sr., who knew Frank McKinney Sr., the Indians’ Chairman of the Board, to help him arrange an interview. That December, Schumacher went to McKinney’s Fidelity Bank office on East Market Street. After a brief conversation, McKinney wrote a note on a little piece of paper and told Schumacher to take the note to Ray Johnston, the team’s General Manager. 

“He didn’t put it in an envelope,” Schumacher said. “He just handed it to me. He wrote something like: ‘This is the young man I talked to you about for the open position at the ballpark.’” 

Schumacher took the paper to Johnston. He was hired. 

Over the next dozen years, Schumacher advanced from Ticket Manager to Public Relations Director to General Manager to President and Chairman—a position he held for 47 years until he retired at the end of 2016. In that time, the Indians won 19 divisions and eight league championships, turned a profit for 42 consecutive years after periods of financial losses, and moved into a downtown Indianapolis ballpark still considered one of the best in America. 

“After I graduated from Butler, I thought I’d get a regular job—work for the Star, maybe—or be in somebody’s PR department or putting together publications for some corporation,” he said. “This just dropped in my lap.” 

Truly a Butler Family 

Schumacher grew up at 44th Street and Winthrop Avenue in Indianapolis, his academic future seemingly preordained. His father, a musician, and his mother, who worked in a downtown department store and later at a bank, both went to Butler when the campus was in Irvington. His two older sisters preceded him on the Fairview campus. “I never thought about anything else other than Butler,” he said. 

As a sophomore at Shortridge High School, where his classmates included future U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and author Dan Wakefield, Schumacher became interested in Journalism. He also played second base on the Shortridge team, which was coached by Jerry Steiner, a 1940 Butler graduate and future Butler Athletic Hall of Fame inductee. Steiner accompanied Schumacher on a visit to ask Tony Hinkle about an athletic scholarship. They arrived to find Hinkle cutting the grass, his leg in a cast—the result of a lawnmower accident from a previous session mowing the baseball field. 

Schumacher remembers Hinkle’s response. “He said, ‘Well, kiddo’—everybody was ‘kiddo’—‘we have a great school here. It’s a wonderful school. We announce when baseball practice starts, and you can come out for ball.’ He didn’t say baseball. And away we go. Long story short, that’s what I did.” 

Schumacher drove his 1936 Chevrolet Coupe the two miles to Butler (later upgrading to a ’41 Pontiac), where he studied Journalism and walked on to the baseball team. He was surprised at his first game when Hinkle called out, “Hey, Schuey, coach third base.” He did that for two years before earning some playing time in his last two years. (His best game, four hits in four at-bats against DePauw was overshadowed by teammate Norm Ellenberger, who threw a no-hitter that day.) 

When Schumacher wasn’t playing ball, he was in class or writing for The Butler Collegian. He worked his way up to Editor, but when the boss at his summer job—public relations for Junior Baseball, a citywide youth baseball program—asked him to stay on during the school year, Schumacher chose the paying job. 

Time to Go to Work 

That turned out to be the right decision: The man who ran Junior Baseball, J.R. Townsend Sr., would later provide the introduction to Frank McKinney Sr. with the Indianapolis Indians. 

By his senior year, Schumacher also had a second job with the Indianapolis Times. He took calls from sports correspondents at high schools, gathering information for box scores and game stories. He also wrote his own stories occasionally—like on the night of March 20, 1954, when he was sent to the tiny town of Milan to see if there was anyone around. (Almost everyone was in Indianapolis, watching their team win the state high school basketball championship.) 

“I loved that,” Schumacher said. “I really loved that. That got me hooked on Journalism.” 

With what he learned in classes, on The Collegian, and through his outside jobs, he graduated with skills that translated well for what was to come next. 

“I thought at the typewriter better than longhand, so to have correspondence that had to go out to somebody for Indians’ business, I could sit down and compose a coherent letter and fire it into the mail to them,” he said. “I was very happy with my education. It helped me develop the necessary skills to be successful, and I had what it took to get started.” 

Building a Franchise and Family 

From 1957 until he stepped down in 2016, Max Schumacher experienced enormous successes—and the occasional hiccups. He once traded a future Cy Young Award winner (Mike Cuellar), but he also helped assemble teams that won four consecutive championships in the 1980s. The 1986 title, won in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game when the Indians’ Billy Moore drove in the winning run off future star Rob Dibble, remains a personal favorite. 

Perhaps his greatest success in those years was meeting and marrying Judy Whybrew, an Indiana University graduate who worked on the Indians’ ticket staff. Schumacher had been hired to replace her friend Marge Smith as ticket manager, “and I was not real well received because I was replacing her friend,” he said. “But we got to know each other well, and we fell in love later.” Bruce, their first son, who succeeded Max as Indians Chairman of the Board and CEO, was born in 1959, followed by Brian, Karen, and Mark, and they now have five grandchildren. 

Over the years, Schumacher had opportunities to go to the major leagues, but he turned them down. He grew up in Indianapolis and, except for his two years in the Army, has lived here his entire life. With the Indians, he was more or less his own boss, and he was instrumental in building one of America’s great minor-league franchises. He’s particularly proud that for the team’s employees, “to have on their resume that they worked for the Indianapolis Indians is a pretty good line to have.” 

“I never had the feeling that I wanted to be a big guy in my industry,” he said. “A lot of people think if you work in baseball, you need to get to the major leagues if you want to be a success. So many people have said to me, ‘I thought you would have been in the major leagues by now.’ If you’re an attorney, do you have to work in New York or Chicago or Los Angeles to be successful in your profession? No. And I don’t, either.” 

Max
AthleticsPeopleCommunity

That's the Ticket

Can one little newspaper story change a life? It did for Max Schumacher ’54. 

by Marc D. Allan MFA ’18

from Spring 2018

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Of Brothers and Business

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Spring 2018

Conner ’11 and Jordan ’13 Burt—brothers from Elkhart, Indiana—came to Butler for similar reasons. The people. The size. The athletics. The feeling ... you know, the one where you just know it’s where you belong. 

While at Butler, both studied Economics—Conner an Economics major with a minor in Business, and Jordan a double major in Economics and Finance— and both played soccer. 

Conner BurtJordan’s favorite Butler memory is playing Indiana University in the Sellick Bowl with 5,000 fans in the stands. “The game was wild in itself, but we ended up coming back from a 2-0 deficit when David Goldsmith sent in a game-winner during overtime. That was a special day.” 

And Conner credits Butler Soccer for teaching him how fulfilling it can be to reach toward a common goal with like-minded individuals. “It made me appreciate ‘the underdog’ and, to this day, I’ve always tried to find situations that allow me to play that role.” 

To most people, being an entrepreneur is a lot like being the underdog. You aren’t the “safe bet,” so you have to enjoy taking risks. And you’re going to need to work twice as hard to be successful, so you better have incredible drive. Conner and Jordan both possess these traits and, with them being brothers, it makes most question the role genetics play in the matter. But, we aren’t here to discuss the nature vs. nurture of it all. 

During Jordan’s first year at Butler, he “got very fired up about entrepreneurship” in his Real Business Experience class. As he continued into his junior and senior year, his “classes and internships really fueled the flame.” 

Not surprisingly, Conner can relate. “Experimentation and opportunity was encouraged. From the Real Business Experience to independent studies, I realized the challenge and fun in starting something new.” 

In fact, both Conner and Jordan helped start the Butler Farm and Conner tried to build a compost business during his time at Butler. “Seven years later, I still think about a lot of lessons I learned through those experiences,” Conner confesses.

These lessons have served him well. After graduation, Conner completed an Orr Fellowship, which places high-potential college graduates with Indianapolis-based technology companies. His first job—which turned out to be in sales—was with a software startup called iGoDigital. Conner loved the challenge and helping solve customer problems.Jordan Burt

Eventually, ExactTarget acquired the startup and, then, Salesforce acquired ExactTarget. Through the transitions, Conner got involved with training—these new companies needed to learn about iGoDigital in order to sell it, which is what Conner had been doing for two years. So, he spent a lot of time on assignment in London, Australia, and all over the United States. 

During this time, Conner became a friend and roommate of Max Yoder. Yoder needed clients to test out his new training product, so they tested it at ExactTarget. As Conner shares, “It worked splendidly. It cut my travel time in half, and everyone who used it, loved it.” 

Conner joined Yoder at Lessonly, where he currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer, which means, “focusing on new initiatives that present large opportunities and/or the biggest challenges we’re facing at any given time.” 

According to Conner, “Lessonly has more than doubled in size each of the last five years and was ranked one of the Top 3 Best Small Business Cultures in the United States by Entrepreneur.” Quite an accomplishment for a startup. 

Back when Lessonly had only three employees, Jordan worked with Conner, helping him sell the software for a year and a half. He also was playing soccer with the Carolina Railhawks. 

While his friends were applying for corporate jobs after graduation, Jordan was trying to land a position on a pro soccer team. He admits it wasn’t a smooth path, but he is happy he took the risk. 

“The soccer world is an uncertain one in which your career could end at any time, so I have tried to always find balance in doing other work, exploring interesting topics, and, now, starting my own business,” explains Jordan. 

He found his passion while completing internships during his time at Butler. His first, in corporate finance at Zillow in Seattle, had some great perks but was not something that would excite him every day. His next experience at Techstars, a startup accelerator for tech companies in Boulder, Colorado, is where he found the contagious excitement and energy he wanted. 

Now, Jordan is playing professional soccer with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks Football Club and is Co-Founder of Pro Performance (properformance.guru). 

While he and Conner may not work together directly anymore, Jordan’s business uses Lessonly. “We get a killer deal.” 

AcademicsAthletics

Of Brothers and Business

Butler University: Entrepreneurs welcome here

by Megan Ward MS ’13

from Spring 2018

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Scholarship: The Joel Cornette Scholarship Fund

Patricia Snyder Pickett '82, APR

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. 

AthleticsGivingCommunity

Scholarship: The Joel Cornette Scholarship Fund

Scholarship: The Joel Cornette Scholarship Fund

Patricia Snyder Pickett '82, APR

Athlete Profile: Mason Dragos ’19

Jimmy Lafakis ’19

from Spring 2017

Mason Dragos ’19 loves to compete. He came to Butler as a state champion, and his work ethic drives him to succeed. The sophomore tennis player looks to make another big impact after his strong first-year campaign. Dragos said he is fond of working hard and grinding his matches out. 

“I will always remember what beating a good team felt like,” he said. “Having a close team match and coming out on top is really quite surreal.” 

He said he enjoyed growing as a person and student through the ups and downs of his first year. “Our school is special because of its small-sized campus with big-school resources,” he said. “You get to develop relationships with your professors that are able to help you in many aspects of your life.” 

Dragos crossed state lines for his college experience. The Lexington, Ohio, native said he found a family of new friends at Butler. “It is a special place,” he said. “I went there not knowing a single person. I was able to make some great friends and experience some things I would not have if I did not come to Butler.” 

Dragos, who plays singles and doubles, said last year’s lessons made him a more mature player. 

“If you win the deciding match, your teammates go nuts,” he said. “I’m trying to focus on solidifying my game. Becoming more mentally tough will help myself and my team win even more matches than we did last year.”

Athletics

Athlete Profile: Mason Dragos ’19

The sophomore tennis player looks to make another big impact after his strong first-year campaign.

by Jimmy Lafakis ’19

from Spring 2017

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Athlete Profile: Haley Hallenbeck ’18

Jimmy Lafakis ’19

from Spring 2017

Haley Hallenbeck ’18 fell in love with lacrosse in seventh grade. Once she stepped foot on the turf, she never looked back. The Indianapolis native attended Park Tudor School and earned US Lacrosse All-American honors twice. Hallenbeck said her love for the sport has made a huge difference in her life. 

Haley Hallenbeck ’18“The lacrosse field is like home to me,” she said. “I fell in love with it because of the high-speed tempo of the game and high-pressure game situations.” 

Lacrosse took Hallenbeck across the United States. She spent her first two years of college at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Hallenbeck said she is happy to have lacrosse as a steady part of her life. 

“With a lot always changing around me, lacrosse has been the one constant thing in my life,” she said. “I appreciate all of the opportunities it has given me, as it will always have a special place in my heart.” 

Hallenbeck, a midfielder, said she recognizes the challenges thrown at her on a day-to-day basis. “As a midfielder, you have to be in great shape,” she said. “That is one of my favorite aspects of the sport. You run for miles and miles every match.” 

Butler is 10 minutes away from her home. She said she appreciates eating a home-cooked meal and spending time with her new family of teammates. 

“All of the run tests, sprint workouts, and lifts with my teammates are some of my favorite memories,” she said. “But they are always opportunities to see how hard I can push myself.” 

Athletics

Athlete Profile: Haley Hallenbeck ’18

Butler is 10 minutes away from her home. She said she appreciates eating a home-cooked meal and spending time with her new family of teammates. 

by Jimmy Lafakis ’19

from Spring 2017

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Butler Adds Women's Lacrosse

Katie Goodrich ’17

from Spring 2017

In a whirlwind of hiring, recruiting, and program building, Butler University has added a new varsity sport: women’s lacrosse. The Division I team began its journey as a BIG EAST program in February. 

Head Coach Cecil Pilson, who previously coached at Mercyhurst University for more than a decade, said he is glad Athletic Director Barry Collier and President James Danko had faith in him. 

“It’s definitely very exciting to start a Division I program, especially in the BIG EAST and at a university like Butler,” he said. “As a coach, you always want to be at a school where you can buy into the school’s philosophy and the academics. Butler aligned with everything I wanted as a coach.” 

In early 2016, Pilson worked tirelessly to contact potential recruits and encourage them to submit applications to Butler. “I recruited a large roster knowing that a lot of other D-I programs…did not have enough players,” Pilson said. “We definitely have the numbers now to be successful.” The team’s roster of 30 women includes first-year recruits, transfers, and former club team players. 

Senior and Captain Emma Annand was on the club team during her first three years at Butler. After playing for Granite State Elite and in high school, Annand said she considered playing lacrosse in college, but ended up really loving Butler and decided to play club. But then she got the opportunity to play varsity. 

“I met with Coach Pilson and he was very convincing,” she said. “And I thought, in 10 years looking back, if I didn’t do this, I would kick myself. And I have not looked back.” 

First-year student Journey Fischbeck is among the first class of recruits who will get the chance to play lacrosse for her entire career at Butler. She was originally going to attend Mercyhurst but decided to follow Pilson to Butler after falling in love with Butler’s big-school feel with small-school perks. She said the basketball team didn’t hurt either. 

The inaugural team’s season will be full of firsts. “Everything we do—no matter what—it makes history,” Annand said. “We’re writing our story and laying the foundation for years to come. We’re setting the mold for how the program is going to be, so we are not taking anything lightly. Everything we do has a lot of thought behind it because it is so significant.” 

Pilson said his No. 1 goal for the season is growth. “Regardless of wins and losses, what is really important is that the team is able to develop,” he said. “The thing I can control is players developing and becoming better, setting that culture for them to grow on.”

Athletics

Butler Adds Women's Lacrosse

In a whirlwind of hiring, recruiting, and program building, Butler University has added a new varsity sport: women’s lacrosse.

by Katie Goodrich ’17

from Spring 2017

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Anna Logan volleyball

Anna Logan ’18

Hayley Ross ’17

from Fall 2017

Looking back, Anna Logan said the past three years at Butler University and with Butler’s women’s volleyball were meant to happen. 

“Volleyball recruits so early,” she said. “They told me, ‘You need to start looking at college.’ I was like, ‘I’m only 15.’ I was told that the Butler Head Coach saw me at a tournament and would love to have me come to campus. I went for my unofficial visit during the spring of my sophomore year in high school.”

Other colleges were interested in Logan but she had grown up just down the street from campus and Butler was the only one Logan would call.

What she didn’t foresee was that she would experience such early success—American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region, first team All-BIG EAST, and AVCA Honorable Mention All-American honors. She led Butler and the BIG EAST with 578 kills (ninth nationally) and 659.5 points (seventh nationally) during her sophomore season.

In her first two years, she compiled 944 kills, 666 digs, and 1092.5 points. She said her expectations for this season is to make it to the BIG EAST Tournament—only the top four teams in the conference make it—and also make it to the NCAA tournament. 

“Only 64 teams make it, but more than half of those teams are automatic bids from winning conference tournaments,” Logan said. “It’s very competitive, but it’s definitely something I am looking forward to accomplishing.”

Logan is an Accounting major. Her plan is to graduate in the summer of 2018, then stay for the following year (her senior year for volleyball) and graduate with her Master’s of Professional Accounting degree in spring 2019. She said that playing volleyball has not only helped her physically, but academically as well.

“Playing in college has definitely helped my time management,” she said. “I wake up at 5:45 AM and I still make enough time to
sleep. It is a skill I will take with me the rest of my life.”

Anna Logan volleyball
Athletics

Anna Logan ’18

by Hayley Ross ’17

from Fall 2017

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It’s Spring—Batter Up! Tyler Houston ’18 Baseball Player

Hannah Hartzell ’18

Tyler Houston '18 was 7 years old when he first visited Butler University. A Finance major from Brownsburg (Indiana) Houston frequented Butler’s sports camps as a child.

So when the time came to choose a school for himself, Butler immediately came to mind. “I definitely wanted a small school,” he said. “When I came for a tour of the campus, it was everything I remembered. I could see myself here.”  

More specifically: He could see himself as a student athlete here.

“I had an opportunity to play baseball and accomplish my academic goals,” he said.

That’s exactly what Houston has done. After a standout, first-year season, Houston was named second team All-BIG EAST. In spring 2017, he was named first team All-BIG EAST and led the Bulldogs in home runs. However, Houston has developed more than just his athletic ability.

“The first two years were pretty big adjustments,” Houston said. “Once I settled in though, I got better at managing my time.”

“The business program is amazing,” he said. “I’m in a Portfolio Management class right now and I’ve gotten really into investing stocks. Before, I didn’t really understand what that was.”

He has also grown as a leader.

During his first year at Butler, Houston said a senior baseball teammate took the time to mentor him.  “Having that mentor was great,” Houston said. “Now I’m in his shoes and I get the chance to do the same thing for younger athletes.”

In the process, Houston said he has found lifelong friends.

“My favorite part is being around the guys,” he said. “The fun atmosphere is incredible.”

As far as baseball, well he’s not quite done with that either. “Our goal this year is to compete, qualify, and win the BIG EAST tournament,” he said. “And if the opportunity [to play baseball post-collegiately] presents itself, I might pursue that.”

pace temple

Pace Temple ’19

Kailey Eaton ’17

from Fall 2017

Pace Temple always wanted to play Division I football. He also wanted to get a great education that would support him in his postgraduate life. Butler was the perfect fit. 

“Butler offered an opportunity for me to challenge and push myself to play Division I football while allowing me to have a life outside of the sport. It offered an incredible education for life after football,” Temple said. 

In 2016, he started all 11 games for the Bulldogs and was named Second Team All-PFL and Second Team All-Academic PFL. He led the team in receiving yards, receptions, and receiving touchdowns, and surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark in three separate games. 

“My coaches and teammates challenged and pushed me to grow as an athlete and gave me the opportunities needed to succeed,” Temple said. 

Temple, a Lacy School of Business Marketing and Finance double major, chose these majors because he enjoys collaborating with others to create projects and presentations and hopes to pursue a career in Marketing. He served as the Chief Marketing Officer of his Real Business Experience (RBE) group—BU Bands and Accessories—a student-run business that sold Butler wristbands and spirit wear to fans. “I love having the opportunity to work and grow as an athlete while being pushed equally to grow and work as a student.”

pace temple
Athletics

Pace Temple ’19

by Kailey Eaton ’17

from Fall 2017

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It’s Spring—Batter Up! Madi Christiansen ’18 Softball Player

Hannah Hartzell ’18

If Madi Christiansen ’20 is on the softball field, chances are: Her Mom and Dad are in the stands. The student athlete from Etters, Pennsylvania said her parents have watched nearly every softball game she’s played for the Bulldogs.

“My dad is a huge Butler fan,” she said. “Initially, he and my mom worried about me being so far from home. But now they see how much I really do love it here.”

As a first-year student and athlete at Butler, Christiansen became very tight-knit with her new softball teammates as they made their way to the BIG EAST semifinals. “I’ve made so many friends through softball and through my classes,” she said. “That’s something I wanted when I came here.”

As an Entrepreneurship major with a 3.9 GPA, one of Christiansen’s favorite classes was the first-year real business experience last year, where she worked with a group to develop an imaginary product and business plan.  “It was great because we were actually doing something that will help us out in the future,” she said. “Plus, it helped me meet people.”

“I definitely like the small class sizes as well,” she said. “All my professors know my name and they’re very accommodating with the softball schedule.”

During the spring season, the softball team is gone every Thursday and Friday. But that doesn’t mean Christiansen is idle on the other days. “We have 6:00 AM practice four times a week,” she said. “The set schedule is helpful, but I have to make sure I go to bed early.”

Still, she said the whole Butler experience is worth it.

Whether it’s a trip to Smoothie King; a winning game; or a weekend movie night, Christiansen said she enjoys spending time with her Butler family.

“Last year, I was excited to go home for fall break,” she said. “But after four days, I realized that I really wanted to come back to Butler. This feels like home now.”

Q&A with Coach Jordan

Kelan Martin ’18

from Fall 2017

My first memory of basketball was probably from an elementary school league. I couldn’t dribble—I was terrible. But basketball must have been in my blood. My great uncle put up a goal on the side of our garage and took up the grass. Some of my fondest memories are of my neighborhood buddies and me playing basketball for hours on a dirt court in our backyard. I was filthy dirty at the end of every day. But, I loved every minute of it.

              —Butler Men’s Basketball Head Coach LaVall Jordan ’01 

 

College of Communication Sports Media Major Kelan Martin spends some one-on-one time with new Head Men’s Butler Basketball Coach LaVall Jordan.

KM: Talk about your younger playing career.

CJ: I wasn’t the best player on my high school team. I played basketball my freshman year, but I didn’t play varsity until my sophomore year. I didn’t start as a sophomore either, but I did play. I come from Albion, Michigan, which is a pretty small town. But, the whole community would come out to watch high school basketball for entertainment and they would really get behind their team. It was a great support system and atmosphere.

And, something about that community feeling that I grew up with was exactly what I felt when I came to visit Butler. Everyone was behind the basketball program at Butler and the program itself had a big vision to do something special. Personally, that was a big connection when I came as a recruit. I just knew I wanted to come and be a part of it as a player. Now, it truly is a dream come true to be back at my alma mater as a coach.

When I was in the 8th grade, our basketball team made a good state tournament run but we lost in the state championship title game to Detroit Country Day and a guy named Chris Webber.

Fast forward a few years to when I was a high school player and we were once again in the state championship game against Detroit Country Day, this time playing against another guy people might know, Shane Battier. And we lost again. But the whole community was behind us rooting for the team. That was a great moment.

KM: The Butler family, students, and the community are pretty loyal Butler fans. What do you think you can expect from them?

CJ: That is and was a big part of the attraction for me to come here even as a player. At that time Butler wasn’t as much of a national name as it is now. People would stop and ask us, “Where is Butler?” But, I had already had that experience playing for a small school that ended up competing with some pretty big name schools.

But something about that small Butler community attracted me to the campus and the program. It seemed like everyone was behind the basketball program and the program had a big vision to do something special. Listening to Coach [Barry] Collier and hearing what his vision was and what he saw Butler Basketball becoming was where I wanted to play.

KM: By the way, how was the coach you played for at Butler?

CJ: Well, he was just great. You know what, one of the things that my father appreciated about Coach Collier was that he was fair. You knew where you stood and you either got it done or you didn’t and there was heavy accountability. I responded to that. If you were getting the job done at practice—you earned playing time.

And, so that allowed the team and everyone in the program to know what was expected and have guys step up and do the job that needed to be done for the team to be successful. There were never any excuses on what year you were or how big you were…it was just the job description and “do it” for the good of the team. If you worked consistently to get better, then you got the chance to play. But the team was always bigger than any individual member. And, that is what everyone knows Butler is all about now.

KM: Talk about your ups and downs as a player.

CJ: That is a great question. As a freshman I didn’t play a lot. There were five seniors on the team then. So I had a lot to learn. I thought that I was going to come in and take somebody’s spot. That is what every freshman thinks—that you are going to conquer the world and you are going to come in and play right away. And so I learned a lot pretty quickly. And, by the end of my freshman year, I had earned some playing time.

Coach Collier would always ask me the question: Do you want to look good or be good? Because I had some “look good” in me on my way in the Butler door. I learned a lot about the substance of the game and about what it actually takes to be a good player and to be a good teammate, and to be part of a good program. Once I understood these things and committed myself to them, I was able to earn some playing time as a sophomore.

Now, funny side story—in the past I have been the coach working with the guards and point guards. As a player, Coach Collier started me at point guard. Butler had brought in Thomas Jackson, who is a Butler Hall of Fame point guard, and one of the best to ever play here.

The first four games of the season, I am starting at the point and averaging over 25 turnovers a game. We are 0 and 4. Coach Collier flips Jackson and me and he runs the point and all of the sudden we got better. So, Coach knew better. Thankfully, we did get better and were able to experience three tournament runs over four years and then the last year to finally win a NCAA tournament game. That was a big deal back then because Butler hadn’t won a tournament game yet and we were just getting over the hump.

KM: Do you maintain relationships with past teammates?

CJ: I’m probably more in touch with my Butler college teammates than my high school teammates. A few of them were even in my wedding. But I do still see and talk to a few from high school and not necessarily were they players. You’ve always got those couple of guys that are just your close buddies—your friends. It is ironic that you spend about 18 years at your community school and only four years at college but the connections that I made at college with players like Mike Marshall and Jason Meyers and the seniors on my first team—those are special guys. And, they laugh and remind me what I was when I walked through those gym doors and support the transformation to what I am now.

It is special to hear from them and they are all rooting for me, the other coaches, and the whole team—and I feel a responsibility to succeed for all of them because you know they all have your best interest in mind—the best interest of Butler. At Butler everyone really does become your family.

KM: What made you want to become a basketball coach?

CJ: I didn’t always know that I wanted to coach. I wanted to play. My dream was that I was going to be the first Butler player to play in the NBA. That wasn’t reality. I played a year overseas in Norway after I graduated from Butler and played a year in the D League in Hunstvillle, Alabama. Then, after that, I decided that I didn’t want to go overseas to play and was trying to decide next steps to stay closer to home.

At Butler, I studied Journalism and Public Relations with an emphasis on the PR side of things. I was out interviewing for a few jobs in Marketing and Sales and PR. And, then, Coach Lickliter, who was here at the time, offered me a spot.

At that time, Mike Marshall was the Director of Men’s Basketball Operations (DOBO) but he really wanted to be an Athletic Director. And as he moved into administration, Coach Lickliter gave me the opportunity to try out a basketball staff position. So I quickly jumped into the DOBO seat and fell in love with the mentorship piece of the job. In the DOBO role you are not coaching, you are doing all of the operations and administrative things for the team that need to happen, but you do get to be a mentor and big brother to the players, especially the first-year players who don’t know anything. Sharing the Butler philosophy, the basketball stuff, was probably easier because this was a system that I knew and that I could talk about and communicate to the players.

I always say that coaching is a calling. I didn’t know that I wanted to be a coach. But then you get called to do it…and you can’t ignore that feeling that this is what you are supposed to do.

KM: Tell us about the new coaching job here at Butler and what does it mean to you and your family?

CJ: It means a lot. It is obviously unique to be able to come back and coach at your alma mater. For my family, my wife is from Indianapolis and attended North Central High School, so she is coming home. And my three daughters get to see where Daddy went to school and be around what I had been around during my college years. They have heard me talk about Butler as they have grown up and now they get to live it with us and that is special.

And, obviously, I feel a great responsibility to make sure that the guys that are playing here understand, and for them to continue to understand, how special it is to play at this high level of basketball and how special it is to play that basketball here at Butler.

I think that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us…we are going to do everything we can to make the Butler family and community proud and we are going to need the players that have been in the program the last couple of years to really step up and mentor the new young players.

CJ: You know, coaching here at Butler is a dream come true. We can all feel the energy building toward that first tip and excited about what is next for the program, the team, and the fans.

We are just going to work every day to make everyone proud to be a Bulldog.

Athletics

Q&A with Coach Jordan

by Kelan Martin ’18

from Fall 2017

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From Tel Aviv to Indianapolis

Jackson Borman ’20

from Spring 2018

Butler University tennis player Aviv Ben Shabat ’19 transferred from the University of North Carolina Wilmington to Butler after one semester. 

That was a comparatively minor transition in his life. 

Ben Shabat grew up in Israel, playing tennis all through his childhood, with plans to play at a higher level. When he was 18, he was required, under the Israeli Defense Service Law, to serve in the military. 

“I got special service because when I started mandatory service I was ranked No. 1 in Israel for the under-18 age group,” Ben Shabat said. “They say that you don’t have to go to the combat field because they don’t want to ruin you and the 15 years that you have already invested in tennis. They want you to still represent Israel.” 

Ben Shabat worked in a kitchen cooking and serving meals to soldiers for six hours a day in Tel Aviv. The base was close to where he trained, so after work he could stay focused on tennis. 

“It wasn’t the best time of my life, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and every other Israeli has to do it too, no exceptions, so that’s the reality,” he said. 

When Ben Shabat finished his military service, he moved to North Carolina but struggled in Wilmington. He decided to transfer to Butler because of the tennis program and the small classes. 

“I came here and everyone was super nice and very welcoming and everybody wants to help,” he said. “For me especially, small classes are super important because in bigger classes you are just getting lost, and the professor doesn’t even know what your name is.” 

Ben Shabat is studying Management Information Systems and has been excelling, contributing to the men’s tennis team’s 3.376 cumulative GPA, which ranked second among Butler’s men’s sports teams. He decided on MIS because it would be useful in Indianapolis as well as in Tel Aviv. 

“Israel is a big startup nation, so I want to keep the option open to get a job in the tech field if I go back to Israel,” he said. “I had to pick a major that could combine the two worlds of Israel and the United States.” 

He’s also excelling at tennis. Ben Shabat said his best memory came on the court last year when the Butler men’s tennis team took home the BIG EAST Championship after finishing last the previous year. 

“It’s kind of a Cinderella story because we were in the bottom of the conference and no one expected Butler to win the title and then we ended up winning every match,” he said. “It was a great experience because I was the last point in the final, so everyone came to watch my match. It was a great moment, maybe one of the best moments of my life.” 

AcademicsAthletics

From Tel Aviv to Indianapolis

Ben Shabat worked in a kitchen cooking and serving meals to soldiers for six hours a day in Tel Aviv.

by Jackson Borman ’20

from Spring 2018

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