Butler's Brad Stevens: A Coaching Star on the Rise

Matthew CohenContributor IMarch 30, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - MARCH 27:  Head coach Brad Stevens of the Butler Bulldogs looks on against the Kansas State Wildcats during the west regional final of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Energy Solutions Arena on March 27, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Before the 2010 NCAA basketball tournament started, the name Brad Stevens was not a household name. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find many people outside the Butler community and the Horizon League who knew anything about Stevens coaching prowess.

Brad Stevens has taken an interesting road to his position of head basketball coach at Butler University. Stevens attended Depauw where he played basketball, eventually becoming a team captain. After his graduation in 1999, Stevens went to work in marketing. He remained active in the game by volunteering to coach a local high school team.

During the summer of 2000, Stevens signed on as a volunteer assistant at Butler under head coach Thad Matta. In 2001, Stevens became a full time assistant coach where he stayed until 2007 when he was made head coach of the Bulldogs.

From the beginning of his time at the helm of Butler, Stevens enjoyed tremendous success. In his first year as head coach Stevens won 30 games. This fantastic freshman season landed him in the top five in NCAA history for youngest coach to win 30 games and winningest first year coach.

His next season was just as impressive. Despite being picked to finish 5th in the Horizon League after losing four starters from the year before, Stevens was able to lead Butler to another regular season league championship and an NCAA tournament birth.

The success continued into the 2009-10 season for the Bulldogs. Butler posted a 28-4 regular season record. They ran the table in the Horizon League going 18-0, setting up another chance at making a run in the big dance.

As soon as the tournament brackets were set, Butler had something to prove. Despite finishing the regular season ranked 11th in the Associated Press top 25 poll, Butler received a 5 seed in the west regional.

Despite the disrespect of the tournament committee for the Bulldogs, Stevens' team was confident. They had won 20 straight games coming into the tournament, the longest active streak in the country.

As the tournament unfolded, coaching legends such as Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski proved their greatness in the Midwest and South bracket respectively. However, it is Brad Stevens who has begun to show his on the national scale. By beating worthy opponents such as UTEP, Murray State, and basketball powers Syracuse and Kansas State, Stevens has arrived in a basketball heaven many only dream of; the final four.

For the time being, Brad Stevens may not be a household name. But expect to say his name among greats such as Izzo, Krzyzewski, Knight, Boeheim, and others in the near future.