The Brad Stevens Sweepstakes
There are Hot Coaches, and there is Brad Stevens. He proved in yesterday’s championship that he requires a “Pants on Fire Hot” category all by himself. He’s poised, articulate, even-keeled and carries himself beyond his years. His team plays hard-nosed yet disciplined, and he’s shown a solid game management prowess. And he’s a stats geek, a more admirable quality than not.
So does Stevens bounce this year? Likely not, but regardless, the ball is in his court. Let’s look at the last couple job openings and how they relate to Stevens:
Oregon has clearly targeted him after a series of misfires. Oregon has by all indications been targeting Stevens before he made the Final Four. A cross country jump of this magnitude would be surprising considering Stevens has never left his Hoosier state. But speaking of Hoosiers, if the Indiana job opened in 10 years or so, he would be in a good vantage point to make the jump back home. Eugene is a small, family-friendly town, and Oregon just so happens to have a new arena, new athletic academic center and Uncle Phil Knight (the Nike c0-founder). Having said this, Stevens’ star might have surpassed Oregon this weekend, despite all the glitz and green.
DePaul also has some dreamers. Similar, though not to the extent of Oregon, DePaul is committed to ponying up for the right candidates. In Stevens, you have a candidates who breathes the Midwest, and has mined the region for some under-the-radar gems. Stevens would jump into one of the premiere (if not the best) conferences with an excessively rich talent pool in his backyard. Not a bad combination. And similar to Butler, the tradition is already there. He’d be given the time and patience to harken back the old Ray Meyer days.
Either of these jobs would be compelling, but Stevens’ career path points to nontraditional priories. Passion over financial stability, vocation over ambition. If Stevens was the type who jumps at every chance of promotion, wouldn’t he likely still be in his old life at Eli Lilly?
So Brad, where is the grass greener? Will Butler join the Stepping Stones list?
UPDATE (April 6): DePaul has their guy, but the Clemson Tigers job just opened. Brad Stevens was born in South Carolina, according to this list.
And don’t assume the Brad Steven suitors are just in college. ESPN’s Chad Ford says his coaching style fits the NBA and the Indiana Pacers should consider the Butler coach.