Butler University men’s basketball coach Brad Stevens scored on several levels in 2010.
In April, Stevens, 33, coached the Bulldogs to the NCAA Final Four, where Butler lost to heavy favorite Duke University by two points in the championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Stevens quickly became a hot commodity, making the rounds on national television talk shows in the week following the Final Four, and deflecting rumors that he was a candidate to fill what seemed like every coaching vacancy at major universities.
But a week after the championship game, Butler signed Stevens to a lucrative 12-year contract extension that sports business experts valued at $1 million annually.
The school also reaped the benefits of Stevens’—and his team’s—good fortunes. Though the private school doesn’t release sales figures, Butler officials said sales of Bulldog-themed items at campus bookstores and online were more than double during March and April what they were during the same time in 2009.
Stevens, who was in his third season as Butler’s coach last year, has been awarded two consecutive Horizon League Coach of the Year awards and became the third-youngest Division I coach to guide his team to 30 wins in a season.
In June, Stevens signed with New York-based IMG Worldwide to manage licensing, speaking, broadcasting and marketing opportunities. IMG operates in 30 countries and provides product and brand licensing, consulting and marketing services. Its clients include Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning and Roger Federer.
In October, Stevens lost one of his major supporters at Butler, when the university’s president, Bobby Fong, announced he would resign in May 2011.
Fong, 60, who became Butler’s president in 2001 and was a supporter of using the men’s basketball team as one of the school’s primary marketing tools, said he is confident the next president—along with Athletics Director Barry Collier—will continue the growth of Butler’s basketball program.•