Back

Latest In

Athletics

Shelvin Mack and Brad Stevens
HomecomingAthleticsPeople

Shelvin Mack's Homecoming

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Oct 01 2018

Emerson Kampen will never forget Shelvin Mack’s bachelor party in Las Vegas. But before any assumptions are made, Kampen wasn’t even there.

He called his former Butler University roommate and basketball teammate one morning, East Coast time, which must have been, “like 6:00 AM or 7:00 AM Vegas time,” he says, shock still audible in his voice, and Mack picked up.

“I’m in Vegas at my bachelor party,” Mack told Kampen. “I have this paper to do. I’m trying to knock it out this morning.”

And that is when Kampen knew his friend was serious about completing his Butler degree.

“Shel is as motivated as anybody, as self-driven as anybody I have ever met,” says Kampen, who is now an Assistant Coach on the Butler men’s basketball team. “When he says he will get something done, he will, and that attitude carries over to all areas of his life. When he said he was going to make the NBA, he did. When he said he was going to finish his degree, despite the demands of an NBA schedule, I knew he would do it. Now, in Vegas, I don’t know how good the paper ended up being, but I do know he was getting it done.”

Mack, who left Butler after his junior year in 2011, to enter the NBA Draft, has played for six teams, and most recently signed a one-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. Many players drafted in the second round like Mack have come and gone, but former teammates, coaches, friends, and family members say his work ethic and ambition separate him.

Those same traits that turned him into an 8-year NBA veteran, have motivated him to complete his Butler degree in Digital Media Production, he says. As he sees his sisters graduate, and all his friends flaunt their Butler degrees, as well as his wife, his competitive juices kick in. But it is also more than that—a love of Butler, a desire to better himself, and a promise he made to his mom.

“I always wanted to get my college degree, for myself and for my mom, but it was hard to balance my time when I first got into the league and figure out how to take classes without being at Butler,” Mack says. “Now that everything is sorted out, it was something I knew I had to do because I came to Butler because of the education and the fact that basketball won’t last forever. Now I know taking classes is part of bettering myself and my future.”

 

THE RECRUIT

Brad Stevens remembers meeting Victoria Guy, Shelvin’s mom, for the first time. He was in Lexington, Kentucky visiting Shelvin at his home.

Let’s just say Mack and his mom had slightly different questions as they sat in their living room with Stevens.

“She didn’t care about playing time, or TV games, or what kind of gym we were going to be playing in,” Stevens says. “She wanted Shelvin to get his college degree and work hard in the classroom. She asked about graduation rates and class sizes.”

Stevens had answers. A big part of the presentation at the time focused beyond what the team accomplished on the court, Stevens says.

They talked a lot about how successful players were after they graduated. Stevens shared graduation rates, and players’ majors, and the fact that practices were run around class schedules—not the other way around. 

The answers mattered. At the last second, the University of Kentucky swooped in, Guy says, and Mack was torn. He asked his mom for advice. She wanted the decision to be her son’s, but the only thing she did share with him was the value of a smaller, tight knit campus.

“He stuck with Butler and it worked out perfectly,” Guy says.

So, when Mack told Stevens he was going to finish his degree over a meal last summer, he wasn’t that surprised.

“Shelvin is very, very driven and usually that is hard to turn off. When you have an ambitious kid, they will usually be ambitious in everything they do and he certainly is that,” Stevens says. “I never dreamed he would have been good enough to leave after three years, but he did it because he was determined to.”

But Stevens also knows his mom is right there, ever-present, making sure her son is getting it done.

 

LIFE AT BUTLER

Kampen and Mack first met in 2008, two freshmen on the men’s basketball team in need of physicals. So, they hopped in Kampen’s car and headed to the doctor’s office. They made small talk and Kampen remembers how it wasn’t awkward—Mack always made everyone feel comfortable.

Kampen learned quickly that Mack was determined to make it to the NBA. But, he says, he and others didn’t really see it.

“He was obviously a really good player, but he was a bit chubby when he walked in. We all should have known when he says he will get something done, he will do it,” Kampen says.

Mack’s work ethic was always on display. He spent more time in the gym than anyone else on the team. They would be playing video games and Mack would have a 30-pound weight in his hands, doing curls while the game was loading, or while there was a pause in the game. He was always working.

Kampen wasn’t surprised when he found out Mack was finishing up his degree. He knows how much his friend loves Butler and values education. He also knows he can’t stand to have something go unfinished.

“I think one day he will be a coach,” Kampen says. “I always have tons of texts from him during the season, analyzing what we did in a game, and why we could have done this or done that. He is always the first to let me know about a decision we should have made.”

As a student, Mack took his work very seriously, Christine Taylor, Associate Professor of Entertainment Media and Journalism, says. She had Mack as a student in her directing and production classes. Now, Taylor is Mack’s academic advisor.

“He was very well-liked and a great team player in my classes,” Taylor says. “He also put his own creative stamp on the work. He had a creative identity of his own. He took his work seriously and was a very good student. So, when he reached out a few years ago, I was not really surprised at all. It was more about figuring out how we could make it happen logistically.”

 

LIFE IN THE NBA

When Mack decided to leave school early, his mom fully supported him, but said he had five years to finish his degree. As the years marched on, she kept checking on him. Mack claimed he was trying, but certain classes he needed weren’t offered by Butler online at the time, Guy says.

She did some fact checking.

“At first, I wasn’t buying it, so I called Coach Stevens,” Guy says. “I talked to Coach Stevens just to make sure Butler wasn’t offering the classes online and then I felt better.”

In Mack’s defense, it wasn’t just the logistics of figuring how to fulfill his major requirements. After he got drafted in 2011 by the Washington Wizards, by his estimate, he was moving around about once a year. He had a stint with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Atlanta Hawks, the Utah Jazz, the Orlando Magic, and now the Memphis Grizzlies. It was also adjusting to life in the NBA.

“It was something I always wanted to do, but I could never find the time,” Mack says. “I wasn’t great with time management, I was adjusting to NBA life, and probably not spending my time as wisely as I could have.”

Once Mack had his daughter, things changed, he says. He was on a strict schedule, going to bed early, waking up early, working out, taking care of her. Then, he realized, he could work school in. His daughter helped him manage his time, and he wanted to make sure he set a good example for her when it came to education.

Butler also started to work with him. A few years ago, when he tried to work on his degree, classes he needed weren’t offered online. A lot has changed over the last few years, says Taylor, his academic advisor, as more classes are offered online.

“Our philosophy is that we should partner with students so they can reach their goals,” Taylor says. “Obviously there is course work they must fully complete, but people are people and circumstances change for individuals and we will do our best to help them realize their goals of getting a Butler degree. This is simply us recognizing an individuals’ circumstance changes and we are as supportive as we can be within the rules to help them recognize their short and long-term goals.”

With Mack, Taylor sees someone who has a strong love for Butler and desire to complete a degree he has, in large part, already earned.

“For Shelvin, this has been part of the process of his development as a person and what kind of individual he wants to be,” Taylor says. “In times when the larger world is questioning the value of a degree from a four-year institution, I always find it really gratifying that people like Shelvin still place such a high value on education. It has been so uplifting to work with him…He is doing this to better himself because what happens in a classroom makes a difference, and he realizes that. That is really gratifying to know, and it reinforces that the conversations and lessons we have make a difference.”

 

FUTURE PROMISES

This summer, Mack finished his major by taking Entertainment Media and the Law.

He spent a couple months watching YouTube videos of different cases, reading case law, writing papers, learning why some people can sue, and others cannot. And, sometimes forgetting he had assignments due. Like many new students, he had to readjust to college life.

“Luckily, I had plenty of people around me reminding me and keeping me in check,” he says.

This fall, as the NBA season kicks off, Mack will be crisscrossing the U.S. on planes, playing in back-to-back games, and squeezing in time to read his textbooks. He will take two online courses, hoping to complete his degree in the next three years. But most importantly, before his youngest sister, Keionna, graduates in 2020. His mom is quick to remind him that he already missed his middle sister, Sierra, who graduated this past May.

To assure mom he is all over it, he had his textbooks sent to her house ‘by accident’ this summer. She isn’t so sure it was an accident.

“I know the degree isn’t everything, but it opens a lot of doors that won’t otherwise be there for you,” Guy says. “He could break a leg today and basketball could be over. I know he has thought about coaching, broadcast, and I want him to have that degree and those courses to fall back on.”

He will continue to take online courses throughout the season. As of now, he says, he would like a career in broadcast after his playing days are over. But coaching interests him, too. He looks forward to the day when he can just walk in the house and show his wife, a Butler grad and former hoops player, his degree.

But to his mom, who he says drove him around to “a million” basketball tournaments when he was young, and always supported him, it will mean everything.

Asked how she will feel when her son officially graduates from Butler, Guy is quiet for a moment.

“Oh my god. I will be super excited. Super excited. He will be the first male in his generation to have a college degree. He is behind schedule, but he needs to follow through. I need him to be better than average and I know he expects that out of himself, too.”

But there is one more thing that is bothering her. Mack pursuing his degree has motivated his mom to finish her degree. He has always motivated her to go after her dreams, just as she has always motivated him, he says.

“After two years of college, I had my son, and he was my number one priority, so I am going to go back after all of this and get my degree in business management,” Guy says.

Her son has given her a three-year window.   

 

Images courtesy of Shelvin Mack. 

Shelvin Mack and Brad Stevens
HomecomingAthleticsPeople

Shelvin Mack's Homecoming

NBA Player and former Butler Men's Basketball star Shelvin Mack is committed to completing his Butler degree. 

Oct 01 2018 Read more

Butler Roots Run Deep

By Rachel Stern

DETROIT—Out on the hardwood, toward a far corner of the court, the shortest player with the floppy blonde hair puts up three-pointer after three-pointer. Swish, swish, swish. At one point, he hits nine in a row.

He is 5 feet 11 inches, and Campbell Donovan wearing number 0 on his jersey is in a land of giants. It is the Thursday before Donovan, a freshman walk-on, and No. 10 Butler will take on No. 7 Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  

The team is at open practice – think glorified shoot-around – but to Campbell, this is serious business. Any chance to work on his game, be a part of the Butler team, and, his dad Rick jokes, put up shots, is a good day. And he knows to never take it for granted.

That’s because, despite basically growing up in Hinkle Fieldhouse, he was very close to never putting on the Butler jersey at all.

The Butler Bond Begins

Donovan Family
          Donovan Family during 2015-2016 Season

Rick Donovan grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana during Hoosier Hysteria, dreaming of playing basketball at the college level. He rooted for Purdue, but when it came time for Rick to head off to college, it looked like he would have a good chance to play at Butler. Joe Sexson was the head coach and the team wasn’t great, Rick said, but he was excited. “Once you get that Butler blue in your blood, Purdue and everyone else becomes secondary,” he says. “I had an amazing experience there.”

Barry Collier took over for Sexson during Rick’s senior season and Rick says, he could tell the program was starting to move in the right direction. After graduating in 1990 and enrolling in law school at Valparaiso, Rick bought season tickets to the Bulldogs and he hasn’t looked back since.

Rick and his wife, Sabrina, still live in Fort Wayne, but that hasn’t stopped them from traveling to Indianapolis for most games. And, it turns out, the Donovans have had several reasons to keep coming back to Hinkle. And keep coming back, and back, and back.

Another Donovan Joins Butler

Campbell remembers the drive from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis. There have been so many trips back and forth, but this one, he says, sticks out. His oldest sister, Ali, was on the brink of heading off to college at Butler, but first, she had a cheerleading tryout. Campbell was devastated.

“I remember it was her tryout day and I was in the backseat so sad,” he says. “She was about to leave home and I really didn’t want her to leave yet. She is 10 years older, so I remember thinking how upsetting it would be without her at home. But I also remember how excited she was to have the chance to cheer at Butler. We grew up at Hinkle with my dad watching basketball games and everything, so this was huge for her. I just remember being real sad, but also real nervous for her and just thinking what a big deal it was.”

Ali ended up making the cheer team. Donovan No. 2 to be connected to Butler Athletics. Rick says he made a distinct effort to remain open-minded during Ali’s college search. They made about four college visits and he was very impressed with all the schools.

“When Ali decided on Butler, let’s just say I was extremely happy,” Rick says. “It was really neat and special to see my kid on the court. I remember people would always ask, did you ever think you would see one of your kids out there, and I always would think of Campbell with hoops, that’s just what would come to my mind. But seeing Ali cheer was very special.”

With Ali’s four-years came more trips to Butler sporting events, says Campbell. He remembers going to tons of basketball games, football games, and traveling all the time.  With all of the travel, Rick says, he started to see his son’s motivation and passion grow. Rick and Campbell used to stay up late and watch Butler compete in the Atlantic 10 on television when they had away games. But once Ali joined the cheerleading team, Rick says, they started traveling to more and more games.

“I literally grew up in Hinkle,” Campbell says. “The coolest thing was she was on the cheer team during the 2010 and 2011 National Championship runs. This was the time that Butler was really starting to become a household name and gain national prominence. I knew before that it was cool my dad played in college and that was a big deal. But this was when it really hit me how much of a big deal playing for Butler was. It was then that I decided, OK, I really want to play basketball for Butler one day.”

A Dream Comes True

Rick and Campbell have walked out of Hinkle Fieldhouse together too many times to count. But this time, Rick made a beeline to Scotty’s Dawghouse. He had to talk some sense into his son.

The two of them had just met with, Butler’s head coach at the time, Chris Holtmann. They expected the meeting to just be a chance to get to know one another, let Holtmann know Campbell was interested in potentially walking on, and find out what the process would be like. At that point, Campbell was being recruited heavily by smaller schools, such as Division III’s DePauw. He knew he would have a great experience at a smaller school, get a lot of playing time, and that these smaller schools were very interested in him. However, Butler was always his dream.

Rick happened to play in an alumni game in fall 2016, which led to a phone call with former Butler assistant coach Terry Johnson, which led to this very meeting with Holtmann at the end of the season. An hour-and-a-half into the meeting, Rick couldn’t help himself. He kept looking over at Campbell, thinking, is this really happening.

“It seemed like Coach Holtmann was going in the direction of offering Cam a walk on position,” Rick says. “We just were looking at each other, like, is he really going to offer this? It was such a surprise. We were days away from probably going with one of the smaller schools, just because we didn’t know if this was an option for Cam. I really think if I pushed Cam with one finger he would have fallen over.”

Holtmann ended the meeting by telling Campbell to give the walk on role some thought and then to get back to him. Campbell said thanks and left. Rick couldn’t believe it. “I told him, you have been waiting 18 years for this, working your butt off, dreaming about this, the heck you will think this over,” Rick joked. “Cam told me he didn’t want to look too anxious, but after lunch he walked right back over to Hinkle and told Coach he couldn’t wait to join the team.”

Back to the Tournament

Campbell with Sisters
         Campbell with sisters at Final 4 in 2010.

There was the time Roosevelt Jones hit a floater at the buzzer to beat Gonzaga at Hinkle. Campbell remembers storming the court from 15 rows up. Then there was the time he watched in person as Butler advanced to their first ever National Championship in 2010, knocking off Michigan State. He remembers watching with his entire family. He also remembers missing the Final Four the following year because of a family vacation in Florida. He recalls looking for his sister, who was a cheerleader at the time, on TV. He was bummed he wasn’t there as he watched from the beach.

“Having all these memories, and now being in Detroit as a part of the team, it’s just mind blowing,” Campbell says. “Having this opportunity to be in the tournament, even though I am just a small part of it, but knowing I am a little part of something special, is just so incredible.”

Rick and Sabrina will be in the stands on Friday. Their two daughters will join on Sunday, if Butler advances. “Friday will be very emotional for me,” Rick says. “Butler has been great to us as a family. I am smiling all the time when I walk into Hinkle, but this will definitely be a different level of excitement getting to see Cam achieve something he always had in the back of his mind, surrounded by so many great teammates and friends.”

Campbell was one of the last one’s off the court Thursday. Putting up a few last shots, taking in every last second on the court. His first time being a member of an NCAA Tournament team, something he has thought so much about. “I try and put myself in the shoes of where I was last year, not even knowing where I was going to go to college,” Campbell says. “I remind myself all the time how lucky I am to be at Butler, not only as a walk on, which is amazing because so many kids would give a lot to be in my position, but to just take classes here and be at such an amazing University. It is really a great all around place and I am enjoying every moment.”

 

Team at Practice
AthleticsPeople

Butler Roots Run Deep

DETROIT—Out on the hardwood, toward a far corner of the court, the shortest player with the floppy blonde hair puts up three-pointer after three-pointer. Swish, swish, swish. At one point, he hits nine in a row.

Team at Practice

Butler Roots Run Deep

By Rachel Stern
AthleticsPeople

President Danko to Chair Big East Board of Directors

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 04 2018

James M. Danko, President of Butler University, has been elected to a two-year term as Chair of the BIG EAST Conference Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is comprised of the Presidents of the BIG EAST’s 10 member institutions.

Danko replaces Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., President of Providence College, who served on the BIG EAST Executive Committee since 2013 and as BIG EAST Board Chair since 2016. Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, President of Villanova University, will serve as new Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors. Fr.  Michael J. Graham, S.J., President of Xavier University, was elected to fill the third Executive Committee position.

Danko, who has served as Butler’s President since 2011, oversaw the school’s entrance into the BIG EAST in 2013. He has served on the conference’s Executive Committee since that time, most recently as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors. Danko also currently serves as the BIG EAST’s representative on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Presidential Forum. 

The Executive Committee appointments were made in connection with the annual spring meeting of the BIG EAST Board of Directors, which was held at the Conference’s offices in New York City. Agenda items included men’s and women’s basketball matters, transfers, esports, and strategic direction as the Conference enters the sixth year of its current configuration. Katrice Albert, NCAA Executive Vice President of Inclusion and Human Resources, made a presentation to the Board on the NCAA’s current initiatives in the area of diversity and inclusion. The Board of Directors also received a report on the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court on sports betting and the potential ramifications for intercollegiate athletics.

From Detroit: Fans Reflect on Victory

By Rachel Stern

DETROIT—It is only about 30 minutes after No. 10 Butler has knocked off No. 7 Arkansas in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, but Jessie Eastman must put the celebration on a quick hold of the modern variety. “We are making a pit stop because we took too many pictures, so all of our phones are dead,” says Eastman, a 2015 Butler graduate who lives in Detroit and attended the game with seven friends. “We had a blast and probably took too many pictures. We are going to stop at home to charge our phones and then keep the celebration going.”

All of Bulldog Nation has reason to celebrate. During a game of runs – Butler jumped out to a 21-2 lead in the opening minutes, only to see that disappear late in the first half – it was the Bulldogs that took control again early in the second half and pushed the lead back to double digits en route to a 79-62 win. Now, the Bulldogs will take on 2-seed Purdue on Sunday in an all-Indiana matchup. The Boilermakers beat Butler 82-67 in the Crossroads Classic in December, but the Bulldogs lead Purdue 2-1 in head-to-head Crossroad matchups. The winner of Sunday’s game will advance to the Sweet 16 next weekend.

“We had a much louder, larger crowd than Arkansas today. There was a huge Butler showing and it felt like a home game. Of course, nothing beats Hinkle, but it was pretty close,” Eastman says. “It will be really exciting to see the atmosphere against Purdue. Today, we saw Purdue fans rooting us on, but of course on Sunday, it will be a completely different story.” Eastman, who has lived in Detroit for about a year, was hoping on Selection Sunday that Butler would play in Detroit. After the bracket was released, her phone started blowing up. She has fellow Butler grads from Indianapolis and Chicago asking to stay on her couch, and now, they just extended their stay.

“Oh, we are definitely starting to look into tickets and will be here through Sunday,” says Kate Allen, who graduated from Butler in 2015 and now lives in Indianapolis. “Typically, I am bad luck for Butler, so I am always skeptical, but today they certainly proved me wrong. This was my first tournament game in person and it was amazing.” Some of their friends who live in Chicago already had St. Patrick’s Day plans on Saturday. After Butler beat Arkansas, they hit the road to drive back to Chicago and plan on returning to Detroit for Sunday’s game.

“The tournament atmosphere is just so exciting,” Eastman says. “It is so great to see all the fans. The fact that we are going up against Purdue adds another level of excitement, for sure. We need to prove our worth after the Crossroads Classic loss and I think we are definitely ready for that comeback game.”

Bulldog Fans
Athletics

From Detroit: Fans Reflect on Victory

DETROIT—It is only about 30 minutes after No. 10 Butler has knocked off No. 7 Arkansas in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, but Jessie Eastman must put the celebration on a quick hold of the modern variety.

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.”

AthleticsPeople

Albert at the Bat

BY Brock Benefiel ’10

PUBLISHED ON Nov 14 2018

Jeff Albert didn’t want to get into his car. It was winter break 2001 and Albert was staring down an almost nine-hour road trip from his hometown in Rochester, New York, to Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana—a school he had already decided not to attend.

Weeks before, Albert had cold-called Steve Farley, then Butler’s head baseball coach, to request the visit. So he made the drive, despite blizzard-like conditions.

At that point, Albert was a junior. He’d already attended Johns Hopkins University and the Rochester Institute of Technology, enjoying academic life and playing Division III baseball. But before finishing his playing days, he wanted a crack at playing Division I while still attending a school with a great academic reputation.

Butler offered that opportunity. But, so did the University at Buffalo, which was only an hour’s drive from Albert’s home in Rochester, and was about to restart its D-1 baseball program with several of his former high school teammates and opponents. At Butler, Albert knew no one.

After meeting with players and coaches, experiencing the small campus environment he craved, and catching a basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Albert’s plan was flipped on its head. He was convinced Butler was the place to spend his remaining college years.

He enrolled the following semester without an athletic scholarship or a promise from Coach Farley that he’d ever play an inning for the Bulldogs. And because he had already transferred twice, Albert had to sit out the entire 2001 season and wait a year before he’d get his chance to take the field. The odds were against him, but he knew the campus felt right that day, so he took the chance.

“I basically walked in there and no one knew anything about me,” Albert said. “I wasn’t even the backup going into the 2002 season. I put myself in a position where I knew I was going to be behind a bit. But that was the point.”

He wasted no time making strides to improve as a player and also felt increasingly more comfortable on campus.

“If you live on campus, you really assimilate into Butler life,” Albert said. “Being away from home, that made it feel better for me socially.”

By the end of his Butler career in 2003, Albert went from a roster afterthought to an All-Horizon League infielder. During his two-year career, he batted a respectable .284, hit 10 career home runs, seized the starting third baseman role, lead the team in runs batted in one season, and helped the Bulldogs set a school-record with 34 wins in each of his two seasons. 

And this was all years before he embarked on the fast-tracked professional career that led him to being named the head hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals in October.

*

No one who watched Albert beat the odds at Butler is surprised that he’s continued to trek an unlikely path to success all the way to the dugouts of Major League Baseball. Paul Beck, a fellow infielder and 2003 Butler graduate, remembers Albert as a soft-spoken, hard-working teammate who immediately fit in despite being one of the few players who came from outside the Midwest.

“He was the definition of a grinder,” Beck said. “Always in the weight room. Always looking to improve himself.”

Beck also remembers Albert as an unofficial hitting coach for several players. Before he arrived at the highest levels—earning praise from future Hall-of-Famers and World Series champions—Albert was helping his college teammates and developing his own swing. He often took an approach that was unconventional for college baseball in 2002, like setting up a camcorder to film batters’ swings.

“He was very ahead of time in video analysis,” Beck said. “He always had a video camera at practice.”

Farley chuckles when he thinks back to the technology his players used in the early 2000s. Before smartphones made video recording almost ubiquitous, Albert was forced to lug around a large camcorder to document batting practice. One time, Farley said, he brought in a computer expert who had figured out how to capture slow-motion video from high-profile MLB players. Once this new tool was shared with the team, Albert spent hours breaking down the swings of major league players like Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Delgado and comparing their approaches with frame-by-frame breakdowns of the swings of his own Butler teammates.

“He was diligently recording swings and constantly analyzing them,” Beck said.

Away from the team, Albert put in even more work on himself. In the mornings before class during his first winter at Butler, he’d scrape the ice off his car windows and make the 20-minute drive north to Carmel, to his cousin’s house, where he could take extra swings in the garage to help increase his bat speed. In the weight room on campus, Albert developed the power that led to his double-digit career home run total. Farley estimates Albert put on about 15 to 20 pounds of muscle over the course of his college career to fill out what had been a scrawny, 5-foot-10 frame.

If Farley has any criticism of Albert, it’s that his former player was almost too focused on tweaking his swing, that his aim to improve often bordered on obsession. Farley said he sometimes worried Albert might fall victim to “paralysis by analysis” by picking over every minor detail of his hitting approach and overthinking the split-second decision to swing.

However serious he might have been in the batter’s box, Albert said he looks back on his Butler years as a remarkably fun time. Both on the field and off it, Farley said his former player fell in with a core group of guys in his class who worked hard in school, put together record-setting win totals on the field and, most importantly, graduated college.

Albert said his fondest memory at Butler was spending countless hours in the collection of dorm rooms on the second floor of the Residential College (ResCo) that was occupied entirely by baseball players such as Beck, and two-time MLB All-Star pitcher Pat Neshek.

“We had our share of fun,” Beck said. “And we always rolled like 30-deep everywhere.”

*

Albert’s time at Butler convinced him that he wanted a career in professional baseball. After a brief stint playing with the Washington Wild Thing of the independent Frontier League, he prepared himself to switch to coaching. He went back to school and earned his Master of Science in Kinesiology at Louisiana Tech University, doubling up his course load so he’d finish in time to be able to join an MLB organization by spring training in 2008.

He did.

The St. Louis Cardinals offered him a role as a hitting coach for their minor league affiliate, the Batavia Muckdogs. Albert moved on from the Cardinals to join the Houston Astros organization in 2012. With the Astros, as a minor league hitting coach, he helped coach another core group of talented young players—just like he did with his teammates at Butler—on their way up the minor leagues to eventually win the organization’s first World Series in 2017.

As a result of his minor league success, this past season Albert was promoted to join the major league club as the Astros’ assistant hitting coach. And when the head hitting coach role opened up this offseason with the St. Louis Cardinals, John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, offered his former employee the job.

“No one is shocked that he’s advanced as far as he has,” Beck said. “But it’s still so cool to see him in the dugout now.”

Though the technology he uses now has dramatically advanced from his college years, Albert still looks for tools that provide an edge for his hitters. He also learned to speak Spanish so he could better communicate his instructions to even more players. Albert combines his background in kinesiology, strength training, and advanced measurement to provide a unique approach to the old art of swinging a wooden baseball bat.

When asked what makes him a “good” hitting coach, Albert said he doesn’t assess himself in those terms.

“I don’t think I’m good or bad or anything,” Albert said. “I just stay focused on making progress. If I‘m making progress myself, that gives me more tools to help the people I’m around.”

AthleticsPeople

Albert at the Bat

Albert was just called up to the majors as Head Hitting Coach for the St Louis Cardinals.

Nov 14 2018 Read more
Athletics

Athletics Hall of Fame Adds Seven Individuals, Two Teams

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 05 2017

Six former student-athletes, two teams and a long-time supporter of the athletics program have been chosen for induction into the Butler University Athletics Hall of Fame. The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted at a dinner/ceremony on the Butler campus Sept. 15.

Selected as Butler’s 27th Hall of Fame Class are former student-athletes Bob Bartolomeo (football, 1977), Areal Bienemy (volleyball, 2005), Joel Cornette (men’s basketball, 2003), DeWayne Ewing (football, 2001), Kim Lubbehusen (women’s cross country and track and field, 1996), Mark Ribordy (football, 1987), the 1995 men’s soccer team, the 1981-82 women’s basketball team, and Special Service Award recipient Winstan R. “Bud” Sellick (1947).

“We are proud to welcome this exceptional group of individuals and teams to the Butler University Athletics Hall of Fame,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “Their accomplishments inspired many and provided a platform to showcase The Butler Way.”

The Butler Hall of Fame was created in 1991 to provide a forum in which those who have brought honor and respect to Butler University and its athletic program could be acknowledged and permanently enshrined in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Inductees have made exceptional contributions to the prestige of the University in the field of athletics, and continued to demonstrate in their lives the values imparted by athletics. The 2017 Class will bring the membership of the Butler Hall of Fame to 207 individuals and 11 teams.

BOB BARTOLOMEO, Football (player and coach), ‘77
Bartolomeo spent 13 years at Butler as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach. He was a three-year letterwinner with the Bulldogs as a player. During his tenure, Bartolomeo would help guide Butler to a 98-40-4 overall record that included 10 conference titles and three NCAA Division II playoff berths. He continued his coaching career at the University of Indianapolis where he went 72-30-1 as a head coach. The three-time GLVC Coach of the Year would also spend 11 seasons as an assistant coach at Ball State.

AREAL BIENEMY, Volleyball, ’05
After becoming Butler’s first honorable mention AVCA All-American in 2003, Bienemy repeated the honor by becoming the first two-time honorable mention All-American in 2004. Bienemy, a two-time AVCA Midwest All-Region selection and two-time All-Horizon League honoree, finished the 2004 season with averages of 3.89 kills, 1.28 blocks and 1.23 digs per game while hitting .242 on the season. She finished her BU career ranked seventh in career blocks and 10th in kills. In Bienemy’s two All-American seasons, the Bulldogs posted a 38-22 overall record and a 21-7 mark in league play.

 

JOEL CORNETTE, Men’s Basketball, ’03
Cornette led Butler to three NCAA Tournament appearances and one trip to the NIT during his collegiate career. He was recognized as the Co-MVP of the 2002-03 team that finished 27-6, won the Horizon League regular season championship and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Cornette scored more than 1,000 points during his BU career while also leading the team in rebounds for three consecutive seasons and in blocked shots in four straight seasons. His efforts landed him on the Horizon League All-Defensive Team in three of his four years at BU. Cornette was the Co-Recipient of Butler’s Most Outstanding Male Athlete Award in 2002-03 and was also chosen to Butler’s 15-player Team of the Sesquicentennial in 2005-06. Cornette passed away in 2016.

DeWAYNE EWING, Football, ‘01
Ewing is the all-time leading passer in Butler football history with 8,094 career passing yards. At the time of his graduation, he was also the all-time leading passer in the Pioneer Football League. The two-time Butler Most Valuable Offensive Player of the Year held 14 Butler and eight PFL passing rebounds at the end of his collegiate career. Ewing still owns Butler’s single-season passing record when he threw for 3,182 yards in 2000. That same season he broke Butler’s single-game passing record with 497 yards vs. San Diego. He earned First Team All-PFL honors in 2000 and was also named honorable mention I-AA All-America.

KIM LUBBEHUSEN, Cross Country / Track, ‘96
A standout runner at Butler, Lubbehusen was a two-time Midwestern Collegiate Conference individual cross country champion as well as a two-time All-MCC selection. The four-year letterwinner was the MCC Indoor Track Champion in the mile during the 1996 season. That same year she won the 1,000-meter championship at the MCC conference meet. Lubbehusen’s times in the 1,500, mile and 3,000 were Butler records at the time of her graduation.

MARK RIBORDY, Football, ‘87
Ribordy led Butler in both tackles and sacks during the 1986 season. In 1985, he ranked second on the team in tackles, but led the team in sacks during his junior campaign. The two-time First-Team All-Heartland Collegiate Conference recipient earned Butler Defensive MVP honors as a senior.

WINSTAN R. “BUD” SELLICK, ’47 (Special Service Award)
Consistent donors to Butler for more than a third of a century, Sellick and his wife, Jackie, endowed three scholarships. They also made gifts to the Butler Fund and several athletic funds, including the restoration of Hinkle Fieldhouse. In 2007, Bud and Jackie Sellick received the Ovid Butler Society Mortarboard Award. In 2014, Bud also was honored when he received the Butler Medal. With a large gift of from their estate benefiting Butler Athletics, the Lacy School of Business, and general University support, the Butler Bowl has been renamed the Bud and Jackie Sellick Bowl. As a student, he was involved in the band, Kappa Kappa Psi band honorary, and Delta Tau Delta fraternity. In 1947, he began his successful career as an insurance agent in the Indianapolis area. Mr. Sellick passed away in 2015.

1995 MEN’S SOCCER TEAM
The 1995 men’s soccer team won Butler’s first-ever Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship. They ended the season with an 18-5-1 overall record that included a 6-1-1 mark in the MCC. The Bulldogs entered the conference tournament as the No 2 seed, but upended No. 1 seed Detroit in the championship match. The overtime win would send Butler to their first-ever NCAA Tournament where they defeated Central Connecticut State in the play-in game. The Bulldogs would eventually reach the Sweet 16 by defeating national power Indiana 1-0. The talented 1995 roster set or tied 11 team and individual records.

1981-82 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM
Every member of the starting five on the 1981-82 women’s basketball team ended their collegiate basketball career at Butler with more than 1,000 points. The core unit of Liz Skinner, Barb Skinner, Beth Piepenbrink, Elza Purvlicis, and Sue Morris helped Butler post a 23-3 overall record and reach the AIAW National Tournament. The 23 wins in a single-season places the 1981-82 team in a four-way tie for the third-most wins in program history.

 

Media contact:
John Dedman
317-940-9414
jdedman@butler.edu

Athletics

Athletics Hall of Fame Adds Seven Individuals, Two Teams

ix former student-athletes, two teams and a long-time supporter of the athletics program have been chosen for induction into the Butler University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Jun 05 2017 Read more

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.”

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

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more
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

Read more

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

Read more
Lavall
Athletics

Lavall Jordan Introduced as New Men's Basketball Coach

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 15 2017

LaVall Jordan ’01 returned home to Butler University on Wednesday, June 14, to become the school’s 24th men’s basketball coach, pledging to uphold the values of the Butler Way and to build on past successes.

Jordan, who played at Butler from 1997-2001 and served on the coaching staff from 2003-2007, said being hired to lead the team at his alma mater was a dream come true.

“I’m blessed, honored, humbled to lead this program,” he told an audience in the Hinkle Fieldhouse Wildman Room that included family, friends, former teammates, and current players. “I can’t wait for the first game. When I listen and hear the chant ‘B-U, T-L-E, R you a Bulldog,’ I may stop coaching for a second and turn around and say ‘Hell, yeah.’”

Jordan earned his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Butler and went on to play professional basketball in Europe. His coaching career began on the Butler sidelines, first as Coordinator of Basketball Operations, then as an Assistant Coach for three seasons (2004–2007). He helped guide the Bulldogs to a 29-7 record in 2006-2007, sharing the Horizon League regular season title in 2007. Butler advanced to the Sweet 16 in the 2007 NCAA Tournament before a loss to eventual national champion, Florida.

He spent three years at Iowa under Todd Lickliter (2007–2010), followed by six seasons as an Assistant Coach with the University of Michigan basketball program under head coach John Beilein. Last season, he was Head Coach at Milwaukee.

Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier introduced Jordan, calling him “a man of high character and integrity, one of the very first checkmarks we have to make here in hiring someone to lead this program.” He said he hired Jordan not just because of his successes on the court, but because of his track record “as a mentor, a leader, a developer of young men – a person who accentuates the value of a degree from Butler University.”

Jordan promised to bring a holistic approach to coaching that includes teaching and mentoring so that when the players leave, they’ll be great husbands, fathers, and community leaders.

“I wouldn’t be who I am today without great teachers and great mentors in the locker room helping me grow from a young adult into a man,” he said.

He described Butler as “a place built on values.”

“We use those values as the guiding principles for our basketball program,” he said. “Those values are in my DNA, having lived it each and every day as a student-athlete here at Butler. And I’ve carried those values with me, I’ve carried the Butler Way with me, everywhere I’ve coached. No question.”

Jordan remembered being recruited to Butler by Collier as a high school student in Albion, Michigan. Jordan said Butler was the only official visit he took. On the drive home, his father asked, “What else are you looking for?”

“I couldn’t answer it,” Jordan said. His father told him, “‘Sleep on it, but if you don’t have an answer for it, then this is the place.

Jordan said it was the people—Mike Marshall was his student host—that convinced him Butler was the right choice. As a freshman, the team made the NCAA tournament, and by his senior year the Bulldogs won a tournament game for the first time in 39 years.

“And away it went,” he said, “because of the type of people.”

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

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

Read more
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

Read more
archive
Athletics

Hinkle Fieldhouse Renovations Are Ready to Unveil

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 28 2014

Fans will get their first look at the $36 million renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse on November 1 when the Butler men’s basketball team plays Tony Hinkle’s alma mater, the University of Chicago, in a pre-season game.

Game time is 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the Hinkle Fieldhouse box office or by calling 317-940-3647 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

For the public, the renovations will mean greater comforts—4,500 new chair-back seats throughout the lower portion of the fieldhouse, a video scoreboard (a first for Hinkle), larger concession stands, additional restrooms, and an expanded gift shop.

A look inside the new men's basketball area of Hinkle Fieldhouse.
A look inside the new men's basketball area of Hinkle Fieldhouse.

 

“Fans are going to appreciate these updates to our great building,” Athletic Director Barry Collier said. “Everything we’ve done has been done with the mindset of making lines faster and space more abundant while retaining the history and charm of Hinkle Fieldhouse.”

Behind the scenes, the fieldhouse has added a weight room that’s nearly twice the size of the old one. There are new training facilities, locker rooms, classroom space for student-athletes, offices for coaches and staff, and meeting space that anyone on campus can book. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have new video rooms to study game film. The men’s facility was made possible by a gift from Gordon Hayward, now with the Utah Jazz.

The 86-year-old fieldhouse also has undergone extensive exterior renovations, including the tuck-pointing of 282,000 bricks, replacement of more than 9,700 windowpanes with energy-efficient glass, and an update of the utilities.

“Butler University is always conscious of Hinkle Fieldhouse’s place as a state and national landmark,” Butler University President James M. Danko said. “With these renovations, we ensure that Hinkle will serve student-athletes and all Hoosiers for generations to come.”

Opened in 1928 as the Butler Fieldhouse, the 15,000-seat arena reigned as the nation’s largest basketball arena for the next 20 years. Community leaders contributed $750,000 for the fieldhouse’s construction, under the agreement that the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) basketball championships would be staged there. That tradition continued from 1928 to 1971.

Renamed for veteran Butler coach and athletic director Paul “Tony” Hinkle in 1966, the fieldhouse has been the site of national indoor track meets, tennis matches, U.S. Olympic basketball trials, professional and college all-star basketball games, the 1987 Pan American Games volleyball competition, Roller Derby, and a six-day bike race. The finale of the movie “Hoosiers” was filmed in Hinkle, re-creating the “Milan Miracle” from the IHSAA 1954 championship game.

During World War II, the fieldhouse served as temporary barracks for military trainees. It has hosted Butler and local high school commencements, concerts, addresses by six U.S. Presidents, the Billy Graham Crusade, and the Sonja Henie ice show.

Hinkle Fieldhouse was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

 

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

AthleticsCampus

President Danko's Message Regarding Coach Holtmann's Departure

BY

PUBLISHED ON Jun 09 2017

Dear Butler University Community Members,

Chris Holtmann, head coach of the Butler University men’s basketball team, informed Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier and me late Thursday that he had accepted a position at The Ohio State University. Chris has been a tremendous ambassador for Butler over the past several years. Our team has enjoyed great success on the court, in the classroom, and in the community.

James DankoPlease join me in thanking Chris for his leadership and wishing him, Lori, and Nora continued success as they begin this new endeavor.

While this news will disappoint many within our community, we have great days ahead of us—in academics, athletics, and beyond.

Our men’s basketball program has enjoyed success at the highest levels for several decades, and I am confident that it will continue to do so. Butler University is committed to supporting a program that will continue to be among the best in the BIG EAST and on a national level.

I have great confidence in Barry Collier to identify the next dynamic leader of our program. Butler will hire someone who embodies The Butler Way—someone who will spearhead success on the court, while also leading a program that makes our University proud.

Thank you for your continued support of Butler University. We look forward to introducing you to Butler’s next basketball coach soon.

Sincerely,

James M. Danko
President, Butler University

AthleticsCampus

President Danko's Message Regarding Coach Holtmann's Departure

"Our men’s basketball program has enjoyed success at the highest levels for several decades, and I am confident that it will continue to do so."

Jun 09 2017 Read more
AthleticsCampus

Butler Signs Coach Holtmann to Contract Extension

BY

PUBLISHED ON May 18 2016

Butler and men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann have agreed to a contract extension. The deal now runs through the 2021-22 season.

Chris HoltmannHoltmann's teams have posted a 45-22 record in his two seasons as head coach. He and former coach Brad Stevens are the only coaches in Butler history to lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in each of their first two seasons, where both of Holtmann's teams have advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. His teams are an impressive 22-14 in BIG EAST play. Holtmann will add Butler's highest-rated recruiting class in program history for the 2016-17 season, a class that was ranked as high as 20th on National Signing Day.

"This extension shows the commitment that both Chris and the University are making to the success of our men's basketball program on and off the court," said Butler Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier. "Chris has led our team to significant accomplishments on the court these past two seasons, while also providing outstanding leadership as a key member of the Butler community."

Butler finished the 2015-16 campaign with a 22-11 record and fourth-place finish in the BIG EAST. The Bulldogs' 79.9 points per game ranked in the Top 25 nationally. Kellen Dunham,Roosevelt Jones and Kelan Martin each earned All-BIG EAST honors.

"In his time at Butler, Chris has proven himself to be among the top tier of coaches nationally," said Butler President James Danko. "We have seen that translate to wins on the court. Chris continues to be an excellent ambassador for Butler University and our mission. On behalf of the Butler community, I'm excited for our future with Chris continuing to lead our men's basketball program and the tremendous coaching staff and student-athletes who represent us so well."

Holtmann was named Butler's 23rd men's basketball head coach in January of 2015, after serving for three months as interim head coach. He guided the 2014-15 Bulldogs to a 23-11 record, a tie for second place in the BIG EAST and an NCAA Tournament appearance. Butler tied the fourth-best single season turnaround (+8 wins) in BIG EAST history.

"I want to thank President Danko and Barry Collier for their continued support and confidence in our long-term ability to lead this outstanding program," said Holtmann. "I know I speak for our staff when I say how much we understand and appreciate the great responsibility that comes with this position. I am honored to serve Butler University in this capacity and I, along with Lori and Nora, are very excited about our future here.

"After graduating two outstanding senior classes, we are well aware of the challenges ahead. Clearly we are competing in one of the premier conferences in college basketball and we look forward to working very hard every day to make all those who have been a part of, and care about, Butler Basketball proud of our program."

The 2016-17 Bulldogs return three starters from last season's team, including Kelan Martin, who averaged 15.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while earning All-BIG EAST Second Team honors. The Bulldogs also add a recruiting class ranked in the Top 25 by several outlets, in addition to transfers Kethan Savage and Avery Woodson.

 

Media contact:
John Dedman
jdedman@butler.edu
317-940-9414

AthleticsCampus

Butler Signs Coach Holtmann to Contract Extension

Butler and men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann have agreed to a contract extension.

May 18 2016 Read more
Athletics

Four Butler Teams Earn BIG EAST Academic Excellence Awards

BY

PUBLISHED ON Aug 05 2015

Four of Butler’s teams were recognized by the BIG EAST Conference with the 2014-15 Team Academic Excellence Award. Twenty-two teams received the award for having the highest collective grade-point averages in each conference sport on August 4. With four team recipients, Butler ranked second among BIG EAST universities. Butler participates in 18 of the 22 BIG EAST sports.
Butler University Bulldog Opener track meet March 22, 2014.

Butler teams to be recognized included Men’s Basketball, Men’s Indoor Track & Field, Men’s Outdoor Track & Field, and Men’s Tennis.

The winners were chosen based on the 2014-15 grade-point average of each student-athlete who appeared on an institution's roster as of the last contest of the championship segment in each conference-sponsored sport.

Seven different schools had at least one team honored, with DePaul leading the way with eight certificates. Butler had four teams recognized, followed by St. John's with three. Creighton, Xavier and Temple each boasted a pair of honorees. Seton Hall rounded out the list of schools recognized with its solo nod for volleyball.
 

 

SPORT/SCHOOL
Baseball/St. John's
Men's Basketball/Butler
Women's Basketball/DePaul
Men's Cross Country/Creighton
Women's Cross Country/DePaul
Men's Indoor Track & Field/Butler
Women's Indoor Track & Field/DePaul
Men's Outdoor Track & Field/Butler
Women's Outdoor Track & Field/DePaul
Field Hockey/Temple
Men's Golf/DePaul
Women's Golf/Creighton
Men's Lacrosse/St. John's
Women's Lacrosse/Temple
Men's Soccer/St. John's
Women's Soccer/DePaul
Softball/DePaul
Men's Swimming & Diving/Xavier
Women's Swimming & Diving/Xavier
Men's Tennis/Butler
Women's Tennis/DePaul
Volleyball/Seton Hall

 

Media contact:
John Dedman
jdedman@butler.edu
317-940-9414

Athletics

Butler Women's Soccer Team Wins the BIG EAST Tournament

BY

PUBLISHED ON Nov 08 2015

Butler captured the 2015 BIG EAST Championship Sunday afternoon with a 1-0 victory over Providence. Jamison Midgley's goal in the 20th minute proved to be the game-winner. The fourth-seeded Bulldogs' run through the BIG EAST Tournament improves their record to 16-6-1. The match was played at Creighton's Morrison Stadium.

Women's Soccer – Big East ChampionsButler's Serina Kashimoto served in a corner kick which bounced around the group in the front of the net, including off the body of Providence goalkeeper Kristyn Shea, before Midgley had the last touch which caused the ball to trickle in the net.

"I thought we showed a nice blend today of grit and fight when needed, along with some quality composed soccer in a high pressure game," said Butler co-head coach Rob Alman. "Coming through three games in six days against three very different but excellent teams is a fantastic accomplishment.

"We're delighted to bring the BIG EAST championship back to Indianapolis and share it with our families, friends, fans, other programs, and the amazing support staff that make this possible for our student-athletes. The players have been fully invested and very disciplined from day one. It's great to see their effort and dedication rewarded. We now look forward to seeing what our next challenge will be in the NCAA Tournament."

Providence's best chance of evening the game came in the 82nd minute when BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Offensive Player Catherine Zimmerman's free kick from 10 yards outside the box hit Card square in the chest and bounced in front of the Butler keeper who had the afternoon sun shining in her eyes. Card managed to scramble and pick up the ball before a Providence player got a foot on it as the Bulldogs escaped the threat. The save was one of three in the second half for Card and one of the four she made overall. Butler managed to keep Providence scrambling over the final minutes as the clock ran out.

Card posted her ninth shutout of the season, which is a new Butler single-season record.

Midgley's goal is the second of her freshman campaign. She also had the game-winner in the regular season finale against Xavier.  Sophia Maccagnone led the Bulldogs with four shots. Senior midfielder Randi DeLong led the Bulldog defense which allowed just one goal over three BIG EAST Championship contests en route to earning BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player honors. DeLong was joined on the All-Tournament Team by fellow Bulldogs Kashimoto, Maccagnone and Shannon McDevitt.

Butler's 16 wins set a new program record. The Bulldogs will make their first appearance in the NCAA Championship after claiming the BIG EAST's automatic berth with today's win. The NCAA Selection Show is set for Monday at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on NCAA.com.

The BIG EAST title is Butler's first in any team championship since joining the league prior to the 2013-14 academic year.

BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Offensive Player
Catherine Zimmerman, Providence, Sr., F

BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player
Randi DeLong, Butler, Sr., M

BIG EAST All-Tournament Team
Mikhaila Martinov, St. John's, So., D
Allie Moar, St. John's, So., M
Sarah Adams, Georgetown, Sr., F
Crystal Thomas, Georgetown, Sr., F
Kathryn Hiller, Providence, Sr., F
Catherine Zimmerman, Providence, Sr., F
Christina Klaum, Providence, So., M
Serina Kashimoto, Butler, Jr., M
Sophia Maccagnone, Butler, Sr., M
Randi DeLong, Butler, Sr., M
Shannon McDevitt, Butler, So., D

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

Read more
Athletics

Coach Holtmann's Contract Extended Through 2020-2021

BY

PUBLISHED ON Mar 30 2015

Butler head Coach Chris Holtmann, who guided the Bulldogs to a very successful men’s basketball campaign in 2014-2015, has been awarded a contract extension. The new deal signed by Holtmann extends the coach’s contract through the 2020-21 season.

“We are very pleased to announce that we have reached a contract extension agreement with Chris,” said Butler Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “He has provided outstanding leadership for our student-athletes, embodied the Butler Way and represented Butler University extremely well.”

Chris HoltmannHoltmann, 43, was named Butler’s 23rd men’s basketball head coach in January, after serving for three months as interim head coach. He was initially tabbed to lead the Bulldogs after former head coach Brandon Miller requested and was granted a medical leave of absence. Holtmann’s performance drew praise from Butler President James Danko.

“Under challenging circumstances, Chris Holtmann stepped in this past season and quickly demonstrated himself worthy of continuing the Butler legacy of excellent coaching and thoughtful leadership, including Barry Collier, that has underpinned Butler’s success. I am delighted that Chris is committed to coaching Butler for many years to come,” stated the Butler President.

Holtmann engineered a remarkable turnaround at Butler this past season, after taking over a program that was 14-17 a year ago and was picked to tie for seventh place in the BIG EAST in the league’s preseason poll. He guided the Bulldogs to a 23-11 record, a tie for second place in the BIG EAST and a second round win in the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Butler tied the fourth-best single season turnaround (+8 wins) in BIG EAST history.

The Bulldogs recorded five victories against teams ranked in the “Top 25” at the time, matching the most “Top 25” wins in school history. Butler, unmentioned in the national polls at the start of the season, cracked the “Top 25” of the Associated Press national poll on Dec. 1 and then made it into the USA Today “Top 25” a week later. The Bulldogs remained in the national polls for 15 weeks and werea  ranked as high as No. 15 in the A.P. Poll and No. 18 in the USA Today Poll.

“As a family, we are excited about this opportunity and we are very grateful to be able to serve Butler University in this role for years to come,” stated Holtmann. “This has become home for us and I believe that we achieved success this year because of the quality of people in and around our program that Butler attracts. We understand the great responsibility in this role and will work extremely hard to make those who care about Butler basketball proud. I want to thank President Danko and Barry Collier for their significant leadership and support.”

Holtmann stands fourth on Butler’s list for wins by a first-year coach. And he became just the third coach in Butler history to reach the NCAA Tournament in his first season, and the third to win his first NCAA Tournament game. The Bulldogs’ 23 wins in 2014-15 matched the 11th-highest single season total in Butler basketball history.

Media contact:
Jim McGrath
jmcgrath@butler.edu
317-940-9414

AthleticsCampus

Hinkle Fieldhouse Renovation Takes Top Honors at Indy Chamber Awards

BY

PUBLISHED ON Oct 30 2015

Butler University's renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse received the highest honor of the Monumental Award Wednesday, October 28, at the Indy Chamber's annual Monumental Awards gala.

Butler University Announces $16 Million Public Goal for Hinkle CampaignThe premier awards ceremony, organized with assistance from the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), honored the most significant achievements by individuals and businesses that contribute to excellence in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, construction, real estate development, neighborhood revitalization, engineering, innovative reuse and public art throughout the Indianapolis region.

“The incredible renovation of Hinkle Fieldhouse takes a facility that's been one of the best in college athletics for the last eight decades and brings it into the 21st century in a way that maintains its historical character,” Michael Huber, president and CEO of the Indy Chamber, explained. “This project and others submitted for the Monumental Awards showcase the vision and talents of Indy's design, engineering, and construction industries as the cornerstone of our region's built environment.”

The Monumental Award was accepted by representatives of Turner Construction Company.

The winner of the Monumental Award was selected by an impartial jury of community and professional leaders from the Indianapolis region. All awards were deliberated by sanctioning organizations selected from the specific area of discipline for each category.

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

Read more
boots and flowers

From Firehouse to Aspire House

Marc D. Allan

from Fall 2017

Butler Volleyball Coach Sharon Clark is a magician of sorts. In her spare time, she turns old rubber rain boots into planters, converts a weightlifting bench to a patio seat, and salvages a barrel of discarded shoe soles to recycle into a sculpture.

“I don’t like putting things in the landfill,” she said.

And now for her greatest feat: Clark and her husband, Tim, are turning a long-vacant 1897 fire station, located in a downtrodden neighborhood about four miles southwest of Butler’s campus, into a community center complete with an art studio, kitchen, and residential units.

“When we found the building, we got inspired by that neighborhood and wanted to help revive it,” Clark said. “Our plan and our goal is to be that first beacon of light, the first renewed piece. Our goal is to help revive that neighborhood one block at a time.”

The Clarks bought the two-story brick firehouse in 2012 because Sharon wanted workshop space to reclaim and repurpose furniture. The building was boarded up, tagged with graffiti, and filled to the rafters with all kinds of junk—an inoperable forklift, boxes and boxes of shoe heels and shoe polish, church pews, engine blocks. It was such a mess that it actually scared children who passed by on their way to the neighborhood elementary school.

Two years ago, local community organizer LaShawnda Crowe Storm connected Clark with neighborhood residents and students from nearby Marian University to decorate the outside of the building with a mural. “Kind of like tagging it back,” Clark said. She put up an A-shaped fence to keep people from dumping in the back lot and gave the building a name: Aspire House. “For the community to aspire to something higher.”

The Clarks have since replaced the leaky roof, gutters, and most of the windows. One side of the building has been tuckpointed, an inner wall has been repaired, and decades of detritus has been discarded.

Sharon and Tim, Vice President of Programs for the Simon Youth Foundation, work on the building nights and weekends (“and weekends when you coach volleyball aren’t actually weekends”), during summer and spring break. Friends come to help, and Sharon’s dad has come in from California several times for a week at a time.

Sharon envisions the building with an art studio in front, where neighborhood kids can participate in creative enterprises and learn a skill, and some kind of commercial kitchen in the back. “This is a food desert over here,” she said. “There are no restaurants, no stores, no grocery store. So there’s a need.” Upstairs will be two residential units.

The ultimate goal is to make the building financially self-sustaining. She figures they’re about two years from finishing—if they get grants. If the project ends up being self-financed, it will take much longer.

“I will be proud when this is done,” she said. “Even with the stress that you go through—am I doing the right thing?—every time someone stops and says, ‘It looks great’ or ‘good job’ or ‘thank you,’ you get your energy going again. That makes it worthwhile.”

boots and flowers
Athletics

From Firehouse to Aspire House

by Marc D. Allan

from Fall 2017

Read more

Built for Bulldogs

Rachel Stotts

from Fall 2016

ICING ON THE CAKE

Serina KashimotoSenior Serina Kashimoto grew up playing boys club soccer in Hiroshima, Japan. She believes this early exposure along with the influence of her father and grandmother—her father still plays indoor soccer at a high level and her grandmother won a national championship in her 50s—gave her a solid foundation in the sport that she loves. The Butler Women’s Soccer Team’s 2015 BIG EAST Championship—the first for any Butler sport since joining the conference—is the icing on the cake for Kashimoto, who had always dreamed of playing in the United States.

Elise Edwards, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Butler, paved the way for Kashimoto to fulfill that dream. Edwards, an Assistant Coach for Butler Women’s Soccer, had done fieldwork on the culture of sport in Japan and knew Kashimoto’s high school soccer coach. Edwards asked Kashimoto about coming to the states to play. After an experience playing in the U-17 World Cup, Kashimoto knew it was time—she told Edwards she was ready. Kashimoto was used to winning before she came to the United States, having always competed on national championship teams in Japan. At Butler, it was different.

“We couldn’t win the conference until this year, so when we finally won, I was feeling great. I wished that moment could last forever.”

Kashimoto is also focused on preparing herself for life after soccer and recently completed an internship in Butler’s Sports Marketing Office. Majoring in Body, Mind, Media, and Sport, Kashimoto cites Edwards and Lisa Farley as her two favorite professors. “I’ve never gotten bored in [Farley’s] class. She is also like my American mom and always cheers me on during the games. After the games, she always gives me a hug and is making sure I don’t feel lonely since my family cannot come to my games.”

While the mid-fielder hopes to play soccer professionally when she graduates, another goal is to make the national team and play in the Tokyo Olympics. “I think that would be a great opportunity for me to pay back those who helped me to become who I am today—especially my family who made so many sacrifices for me to keep chasing my dream.”

  • 2015 First Team All-BIG EAST Selection
  • 2014 First Team All-BIG EAST Selection
  • Third Team All-Northeast Region Selection
  • 2013 Second Team All-BIG EAST Selection
  • Second Team All-Northeast Region Selection

LOVING THE WORLD OF SPORTS

David GoldsmithSenior David Goldsmith grew up with a dream common to English boys—to play professional soccer for his home country. When it appeared that dream might not come to fruition, he began looking at American schools where he could play soccer and complete his education. He chose Butler sight unseen. The senior forward had never even been to the United States. After talking to coaches from several Division I schools, he made his choice based on the relationship he forged with Butler Men’s Soccer Head Coach Paul Snape (also English) over the phone.

“That was kind of a scary moment—getting on the plane, not knowing where I was going and only having spoken to one person on the phone,” said Goldsmith. “But I’m so glad I picked Butler. I love everything about it and I have a really good relationship with the coaches and players.”

Tasks like getting a bank account and a social security number—things his teammates took for granted—felt overwhelming to Goldsmith. “The first couple weeks were crazy. Thankfully, Coach Snape helped me out a lot. He went through the same process 20 years earlier so he understood what I was going through and could relate to it. The team was also really supportive.”

Goldsmith is majoring in Human Movement and Health Sciences. Professor Lisa Farley helped guide him academically and remains his advisor. “She was another main reason I chose Butler,” Goldsmith said. “She answered my questions and put my parents’ minds to rest.”

The soccer star’s immediate future hinges largely on how he performs in the fall, but he has a plan no matter what the outcome. “I just love sports and no matter what, I want to work in sports. If playing professionally doesn’t work out, or after that, I will try to work for a professional soccer team or in strength and conditioning or psychology—I just like the world of sports—working together to try to win.”

  • 2015 Second Team All-BIG EAST
  • 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-District Men’s Soccer Team
  • 2014 Second Team All-BIG EAST
  • 2014 CoSIDA Academic All-District V
  • 2013-14 BIG EAST All-Academic Team
  • 2013 Second Team All-BIG EAST
  • 2013 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year
  • 2013 BIG EAST All-Rookie Team
  • 2013 BIG EAST All-Tournament
  • Butler Athletic Director’s Honor Roll

Butler Softball Team with Big East trophy

Q & A WITH BUTLER SOFTBALL COACH SCOTT HALL

Q: How did you see this team grow and change through the season?

A: I saw growth in their focus and chemistry as a team. Teams that are not close will tend to fall apart at the end of the season because they are focused on things when softball is over. This team never lost sight of what they wanted to accomplish.

Q: What’s special about this particular group of women?

A: They found a way to win in many games and didn’t stop competing. Tough to beat a team or individual that refuses to quit!

Q: What were your feelings and observations about the team throughout the BIG EAST tournament?

A: I knew we had a shot at winning. I told the team all year long that if you get to the tournament, I would put them up against any team in the BIG EAST in a single game, winner takes all game. That is what happened. It was pure coaching joy to watch that group of young women celebrate on the field!

Q: What are you looking forward to for next season? What are your goals?

A: Goals have not changed. Do great in the classroom and compete on the field. Winning the BIG EAST title again is always what we will strive for. We return with a lot of experience and talent and what this group did this year will hopefully fuel their drive and work ethic in the off-season.

Athletics

Built for Bulldogs

by Rachel Stotts

from Fall 2016

Read more
archive
Athletics

Now You Can Have a Seat from Hinkle Fieldhouse

BY

PUBLISHED ON Apr 22 2014

 

 

Want a piece of Hinkle Fieldhouse history? On June 7, Butler University and People for Urban Progress (PUP) will be selling several hundred seats that were removed from the fieldhouse as part of the ongoing renovation. An exclusive pre-sale will be held the day before for Butler men’s basketball season-ticket holders.

Jonathan Allinson from People for Urban Progress and McKenzie Beverage, Butler's Sustainability Coordinator
Jonathan Allinson from People for Urban Progress and McKenzie Beverage, Butler's Sustainability Coordinator

The seats—$100 each—will be for sale from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the CUE Farm at Butler, located next to the intramural fields west of 52nd Street and Boulevard Place. Buyers should be prepared to carry away their seats after completing the purchase.

Proceeds will raise money for PUP to do public installations of seats around Indianapolis, and for Hinkle Fieldhouse renovations.

PUP, an Indianapolis non-profit that advances connectivity, environmental responsibility, and good design, repurposes discarded materials for public benefit. The organization turned seats from the old Bush Stadium into bus stop benches. The first of these "PUPstops" was installed in December 2011 near the Cultural Trail and Massachusetts Avenue.

The fieldhouse is currently undergoing a $34 million renovation, which is scheduled for completion in October. As with all major renovations, LEED Silver is the Butler standard for new construction and major renovations, but Gold or higher is strived for whenever possible. Even small renovation projects on campus incorporate the LEED sustainability concepts. A portion of this renovation is registered as a LEED project.

Media contact:
Marc Allan
mallan@butler.edu
317-940-9822

 

Zach Hahn ’11

Zach Hahn ‘11 has always been a team player.

A four-year member of the Butler Men’s Basketball team, Hahn helped the Bulldogs reach the NCAA championship games in 2010 and 2011. He grew as a player (and a person) under the guidance and poise of Coach Brad Stevens.

A Physical and Health Education major in the College of Education at Butler, he formed close relationships with professors and classmates to reach his high academic goals—he made the Horizon League All-Academic team three times.

“In life, you are going to be on many teams,” Hahn said. “It’s not always going to be about you. It should be about the bigger picture. Whether it’s school or work or family, you have to work together to try and accomplish the goals you have.”

He recalls his professors setting up Skype in the classroom so he could keep up with lectures while on the road for basketball.

He spent the second semester of his senior year student teaching at Shortridge High School and Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, which allowed him to observe the day-to-day lives of the teaching professionals he aspired to follow.

He soaked up the advice of COE professors Mindy Welch and Lisa Farley, who Hahn said “served as a role model and an example of what all of us as educators hope to become someday.”

But more than anything, he said Butler taught him the importance of community and building relationships.

Hahn is now the Men’s Head Basketball Coach and Health and Physical Education Teacher at Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana. He credits Butler with giving him the experiences that helped him reach his goals.

“As an educator, I’m a firm believer that people don’t care what you know until they first know that you care about them,” he said. “My professors did that for me.”

Zach Hahn
OutcomesAthleticsPeople

Zach Hahn ’11

Values gained on the team play out in the classroom.

Trae Heeter ’14

The opportunities to get a great education and play Division I football were what brought Trae Heeter ’14 to Butler, and he made the most of both.

As an Elementary Education major, he spent four years in local classrooms—in field experiences and as a student-teacher—preparing to teach fifth grade, which he’s now doing at the Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler Lab School.

As a running back for the Bulldogs, he led the Pioneer Football League in rushing his junior and senior years, rolling up 2,478 yards and scoring 27 touchdowns.

“Education is huge in my family,” Heeter said. “I saw that Butler would be a place where I could really blossom as a football player and find a career and passion in the classroom.”

Heeter grew up in Indianapolis. Several state universities offered him scholarships or preferred walk-on status, but football Coach Jeff Voris convinced him to visit Butler. “As soon as you walk on campus, you see how special a place it is,” Heeter said.

Voris told him, “You might not get the athletic scholarship, but there’s ways to make sure you have the resources you need, as well as graduate with a great degree and be ready to start a career.”

Heeter said he was prepared, beginning the day he started in the College of Education. Like all Butler Education majors, in his first-year courses, he began going to area schools to observe veteran teachers and learn to work with students. By senior year, he was student-teaching full-time at the Lab School.

After graduating in December 2014, Heeter took a job as a fifth-grade teacher in the Washington Township school district in Indianapolis. When Lab School Principal Ron Smith ’88 MS ’96 called and said he had a similar position open beginning in August 2015, Heeter jumped at the chance to return.

In addition to teaching, Heeter’s now back at Butler, working on his master’s degree in the EPPSP (Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals) program. His goal is to become either a principal or an athletic director.

In either case, he said he will share the Butler Way principles with his students.

“Know your role, do the right thing when nobody’s looking, and put in the time and effort,” he said. “The results really do show.”

Trae Heeter
AthleticsPeople

Trae Heeter ’14

Football star turned educator

Brendan King ’17

Brendan King ’17 didn’t know what he was in for when he arrived at the Butler Bowl just a few weeks into his first year to cover his first game for butlersports.com.

King was assigned to do the live play-by-play broadcast for the men’s soccer game against Indiana University in September 2013. The Bulldogs won a thrilling victory in double overtime against the Hoosiers in front of a crowd of almost 5,000 people. King knew from that moment on that he had made the right choice in Butler University.

The Mokena, Illinois, native came to Butler as a Journalism major and then switched to Sports Media when Butler first started offering the program his sophomore year.

“Sports Media and the College of Communication have done a fantastic job of preparing me just by the vast majority of activities I’ve gotten involved in whether that’s in the classroom or out of the classroom,” he said.

King says being able to get involved right away like he did was one of the things that drew him to the school. Since his freshman year, King has been a sports reporter for the Butler Collegian and a sports broadcaster for a number of Butler athletic teams.

Outside of the classroom, King has had numerous internship opportunities both in Indianapolis and across the country. He spent summer 2016 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, working for a minor league baseball team called the Orleans Firebirds. He was the play-by-play broadcaster for the team, developing valuable on-the-job experience during his time there.

In fall of his senior year, King worked as a broadcast intern for 1070 The Fan, a local sports radio station in Indianapolis. After graduation, he spent the summer broadcasting games for the Boise Hawks, the Short-Season Single-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, then returned to Indianapolis and 1070 The Fan, where he's been filling in. Next season, he will be the number two voice of the South Bend Cubs.

He said he is more than ready to take on a career in the sports broadcasting industry with his Butler education behind him.

“The professors at Butler give you the tools you need in the classroom and the confidence you need to succeed outside the classroom,” King said. “That’s why I think Butler students are so ready.”

Brendan King
OutcomesAthleticsPeople

Brendan King ’17

  He gained the tools for success—and the confidence he needed.