Butler and the NCAA Tournament: 10 Reasons Brad Stevens Will Be the Next Coach K
Is Brad Stevens the next Coach K?
OK, I know. Tap the brakes, Brodess!
Even if Butler beats UConn tonight, the young upstart (Stevens) will have a long way before he catches up with the distinguished legend (Krzyzewski).
No argument here. I'm not trying to give accolades that haven't been earned. And I definitely don't want to minimize the accomplishments of one of the greatest coaches of all-time.
However, Brad Stevens is simply off to a remarkable start as a head coach. And he has done so at a school that doesn't have all the trappings of a big-time program.
The trajectory of Stevens' coaching career is nothing short of historic.
Here are 10 reasons why Brad Stevens could, in fact, be the next Coach K...or better.
Record After First Year
In the 2007-2008 season, Stevens recorded a 30-4 record in his first season as head coach at Butler.
Only three coaches in NCAA Division I history—Bill Guthridge, North Carolina (34), Bill Hodges, Indiana State (33) and Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh (31)—posted more first-year wins.
Stevens moved into seventh place on Butler’s all-time list for coaching victories...after just one season.
In the 1975-76 season, Coach K, in his first season, posted an 11-17 record at Army.
First 30-Win Season
First Trip to the NCAA Tournament
Stevens made his first trip to the NCAA tournament in his first year as head coach at Butler.
Coach K made his first trip to the NCAA tournament in his ninth season as a head coach (fourth season at Duke).
Both coaches' teams won their first-round games in their first times in the tourney before losing in the second round.
Record After Two Seasons
In his second season, Stevens guided a Butler team picked fifth in the Horizon League, with no seniors and just one returning starter, to 26 wins, a Top 25 national ranking, a second-consecutive Horizon League regular-season championship and another trip to the NCAA tournament.
Stevens' coaching record after two seasons was 56-10.
Only one coach in NCAA Division I history—Bill Guthridge of North Carolina (58-14, 1998-99)—posted more wins in his first two seasons.
Coach K's record after two seasons at Army was 31-22. In Krzyzewski's first two seasons at Duke, the Blue Devils were 27-30.
One Hundred Wins
Brad Stevens picked up his 100th career win in his 120th game with Butler’s victory over Cleveland State on Jan. 7, 2011. That was in the middle of his third year as the Bulldogs head coach.
Only five coaches in NCAA men’s basketball history reached 100 career victories faster than the Butler coach, and none have done it in the last three decades.
Coach K concluded his seventh year as a head coach (five years at Army, two at Duke) before he won career victory No. 100. At that time, he was 100-89.
First Trip to the Final Four
Stevens' first trip to the Final Four was last year, in his third season as Butler's head coach. Ironically, the Bulldogs squared off against Duke in last year's championship game.
Coach K's first trip to the Final Four came in his 11th season as a head coach, his sixth season at Duke.
Both coaches' teams lost in the championship game of their first trips to the Final Four.
Record After Three Seasons
Stevens holds the NCAA three-year record with 89 victories (89-15).
Coach K was 50-31 after his first three seasons at Army. He was 38-47 in his first three seasons at Duke. Very few people remember how challenging a time Coach K had in those first three years.
Record After Four Seasons
Before the 2011 championship game, Stevens, who owns two Horizon League Coach of the Year awards, had guided the Bulldogs to 117 wins, breaking the previous four-year NCAA Division I record of 107 wins set by Everett Case of North Carolina State from 1947 to 1950.
Coach K was 64-42 after his first four seasons at Army and 62-57 in his first four seasons at Duke.
Back-to-Back Final Fours
Now in his fourth season, Brad Stevens has led the Butler Bulldogs to back-to-back Final Fours. Butler is the first Indiana team to pull this off. No Purdue, Notre Dame or Indiana Hoosiers teams accomplished this (Sorry, Bob Knight); not even Larry Bird's Indiana State Sycamore's could do it.
Coach K first took Duke to back-to-back Final Fours in the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons, with the Blue Devils losing in both semifinal games. These were his 13th and 14th seasons as a D-I head coach.
First NCAA Championship
Tonight, Stevens, in his fourth year as a head coach, will have his second chance to win the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.
Coach K, in his 16th year as a D-I head coach (11th year at Duke) won his first NCAA championship on his third try in 1990-91.