The Boston Celtics’ announcement that they are bringing in Butler’s Brad Stevens as their next head coach was a shock. No one saw it coming.
When Butler taps Stevens’ successor, nobody will be surprised when they hire from within the Bulldogs’ basketball family.
In fact, the Indianapolis Star’s Zak Keefer and David Woods say that Butler athletic director Barry Collier has already narrowed his search to two former Butler players: Brandon Miller (current Bulldog assistant coach) and LaVall Jordan (current Michigan assistant coach).
According to Keefer and Woods, Miller interviewed for the position “just hours after Collier was told by Brad Stevens that he had accepted the Boston Celtics coaching job.”
However, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, citing “sources with knowledge of the situation” believes that Jordan has “emerged as the front-runner” to replace Stevens.
LaVall Jordan both played at Butler (1998-2001) and was a member of the Bulldogs’ coaching staff from 2003-2007.
In his ESPN Insider blog (subscription required) dated August 2, 2012, Jay Bilas included Jordan in a list of “five assistants who are currently underrated but make a huge impact on the recruiting trail.” He said:
Jordan is smart and really works hard. He is not at all about flash; he is about substance. Jordan supports his head coach, and he supports his players. He is not coaching for show but is teaching to reach the players. He is the same as a recruiter. Jordan pays attention and puts his head down and goes to work. Jordan played at Butler and began his coaching career there, and he has the same confident and analytical approach one would expect of the Butler way. He got a degree in journalism, but fortunately for the Wolverines, he aimed higher. You can trust LaVall Jordan.
He would bring an excellent track record of in-state recruiting success over the last few years while he has been on John Beilein’s staff in Ann Arbor. The Detroit News’ Rob Beard noted that Jordan “has been important in Michigan’s recruiting in the state of Indiana and nabbing players such as sophomore Glenn Robinson III and freshman Zak Irvin.”
Jordan has a reputation of being a capable skills builder. Beard also observed that Jordan is “credited with helping develop U-M’s last two point guards, Darius Morris and Trey Burke, and helping them get to the NBA.”
If Butler hires Jordan as their next head coach, it will break the university’s pattern of promoting a current assistant coach. The last time that they hired someone other than an existing assistant coach dates back to when Collier, a Butler alum, was selected for the head coaching job in 1989. Collier was a Stanford assistant coach immediately before being brought back to lead the Bulldogs forward.
While the Bulldogs would probably do well with either of these two 34-year-old candidates, LaVall Jordan would give the school and program the best chance to achieve future success and continue upholding The Butler Way.