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The Butler Way

Barry Collier, Butler’s long-time athletic director and former basketball head coach, has announced his retirement effective this April.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities afforded me as a student-athlete, coach, and director of athletics and for the many wonderful relationships I have built along the way,” Collier said in a news release. “While it has been my privilege to be a member of teams at eight different institutions, Butler is the place that I have always called home.” (via IndyStar)

Collier joined the Bulldogs in 1974 as a JUCO transfer, where he ended up as the team MVP for men’s basketball in 1976, averaging 15.2 points and led the squad in rebounds with 7.5 per game.

He would end up bouncing around as an assistant with Rose-Hulman, Seattle Central, Idaho, Oregon, and Stanford before returning to Butler in 1989 as the head coach of men’s basketball.

In his initial hiring process, Collier submitted a 45-page plan to fix the Butler program. Geoffrey Bannister, the school’s president at the time, ended up hiring Collier and made the best hire of his administrative career.

Thus, “The Butler Way” was born.

Collier spent 11 seasons in Indianapolis and racked up 196 career wins, second to Tony Hinkle. Collier’s charges racked up three conference titles in four seasons from 1996 to 2000 and went to the dance thrice.

When Collier left for Nebraska following the 1999-00 season, he would return in 2006 as the athletic director — ironically, two days before, he was inducted into the school’s athletics hall of fame.

Collier’s love for the Bulldogs reverberated throughout the program as he got a 29-7 season from Todd Lickliter, who guided the 2006-07 Bulldogs to the Sweet 16. Lickliter would parlay that into the Iowa job — and Collier had to find his next head man.

And boy, did he hit a home run.

Collier elevated a young Brad Stevens to steer the ship. Stevens’ first season was a 30-win year, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Stevens and Collier would bring about the most extraordinary two-season run in program history when the Bulldogs went to the National Championship game in consecutive seasons.

Stevens is arguably the best coach in the program’s history: never winning less than 22 games, three Horizon Conference tournament titles, an Atlantic 10 championship game appearance, and national attention as one of the best mid-major programs in America.

Collier’s majesty helped grow Butler’s national image, and he was ready to help get them to the next level.

Butler joined the Big East amidst the madness of the 2013 conference realignment.

The Bulldogs would keep things rolling with Chris Holtmann, who maintained Butler’s excellence in his three seasons when they joined the Big East.

Although the last few seasons haven’t been up to the standard, Collier’s impact forever changed Butler’s outlook.

Ticket sales increased by 500% over his tenure as athletic director — turning Hinkle Fieldhouse into one of the best homecourt advantages in America. The school has pumped over $60 million to upgrade facilities to benefit student-athletes.

And those two Final Four runs in 2010 and 2011? They generated over $1 billion in media revenue for the school.

Although he’ll be stepping down at season’s end, Barry Collier set a precedent for the type of student-athlete that should come out of Butler, along with the longstanding motto:

“The Butler Way seeks commitment, denies selfishness, accepts reality, yet seeks constant improvement while putting the team above self.” (via


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