With Move to Big East, Butler Remains Focused on The Butler Way









With several teams across the country moving to a different athletic conference here on July 1, Butler joins the party as it officially makes its move to one of the premiere conferences in the country today in the Big East.

This move will bring about several changes in the way that the basketball program will operate, but perhaps nothing will stick out more so than the opportunity to play against some of the nation’s elite programs in conference play. Alongside teams such as Villanova, St. John’s, Marquette, Xavier and others, Butler will be playing an 18-game conference slate that will be different from anything in its past.

“This is a great opportunity for our players to compete against very good schools and new schools and coaches that are unique to our schedule that really make you rise to the challenge,” said Butler coach Brad Stevens in Monday morning’s press conference.

However, with that, Stevens was clear in his point that the Butler coaching staff is not looking at its new foes in preparation this summer. The off-season, he stated a couple of times, is about his team and looking to see where it can improve before the games actually get going.

“We’re not going to focus on the other schools much right now,” said Stevens. “We’re proud to be a conference member with them but, especially with six freshmen, our focus right now has to be on our team.”

Still, this move to one of the nation’s most recognizable conferences is more than just about playing new opponents when that portion of the schedule rolls around. This move is bringing about changes across the the basketball program that will be a benefit in the long run.

For one, a new campaign to renovate Hinkle Fieldhouse is in “full swing” as described by Athletic Director and former basketball coach Barry Collier. Collier said that the renovations are over half way done, and they are expected to be finished before the 2014-15 basketball season.

Additionally, this will bring upon more national exposure for the program as well, as the move to the Big East also comes with a deal on a new national television network that will begin in August, Fox Sports One. Every conference game will be played on this network as part of the deal and Collier noted that this network will be available in 90 million houses across the country when it launches.

“The improvements have come from the work of many people to make this day possible,” he said. “This doesn’t happen in one day or one year and that goes back way before I was the coach here.”

With the benefits of a new opportunity and the perks of being on a national stage, however, there are also going to big much bigger expectations from this program. Fans now want to see high-caliber recruits signed and great teams playing on the floor to compete with the athleticism that Butler will match-up against in this highly competitive conference. The pressure is there for Butler to perform as they face challenges that are different than what this basketball team has seen before.

Brad Stevens, though, welcomes the challenge and doesn’t seem to concerned with living up to outside expectations.

“The whole expectations thing doesn’t have any effect on me from the outside,” he said. “I expect to operate at the same level we have in the past.”

And, moving forward, if there is any coach in the country that people can expect to stay level-headed while moving up in the ranks and receiving all of this national attention, it is Brad Stevens. He seems very focused on the task at hand and looks to be keeping everything the same on the inside while a lot is changing on the outside. Perhaps that will be the most pivotal aspect for Butler to maintain its consistent success in a new and challenging situation.

“The key thing for us is to move into this new league and remain the same people with the same goals that we have in the past,” said Collier. “We have high expectations, high goals with what we do.”

“It’s about doing it the right way,” he said. “We call that the Butler Way.


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