By Ken Reed

The Butler Bulldogs men’s basketball team is the ultimate underdog story. For two seasons in a row, the small mid-major school from something called the Horizon Conference reached the final game of the NCAA basketball tournament. March Madness indeed. At the start of those tournaments, Butler was listed as a 200-1 long shot.

Butler, led by young coaching sensation Brad Stevens, does things the right way. The Bulldogs had the best academic team in those tournaments, when looking at grade point average, graduation rates, and the NCAA’s academic progress rate (APR) score.

On the court, they play as the ultimate team. A giant poster in their locker room says it all: “We, Not Me.”

The Butler Way, is a true team concept. According to Butler’s website, the Butler Way “demands commitment, denies selfishness, accepts reality, yet seeks improvement everyday while putting the team above self.” The team’s core values are humility, passion, unity, servanthood, thankfulness, and accountability.

“The key in any endeavor is adhering to those standards and trying to live up to those standards, not trying to worry about anything else,” says Stevens. “It’s hard to do and easy to talk about. I think it begins with selflessness, and certainly accountability is very important, humility is very important. You kind of go through those founding principles. It’s not rocket science.”

It’s not rocket science, but it’s certainly rare in college athletics today. The Butler Way is a model worth emulating.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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