FCA: Teamwork and “The Butler Way”

Coach Brad Stevens on the sidelines during But...

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I know now that the tournament is over everybody will talk about games, moments, players and percentages. Preperation for next year’s season’s will begin and the drama of college basketball will permeate through hollowed halls of basketball arenas, field houses, and gymnasiums everywhere. For me the game has always been a simple love of teamwork and personal choice. I remember helping my dad put up our basketball goal next to the driveway. Working on layups, floater shots and hoping I’d grow another 10″ so I could be decent sized gaurd. But that driveway was the glory days of my playing career. Simple friendly, and family.

Years later I look at the game in awe at times. How a small group can come together and work for the greater good. Knowing when to make personal shots are pass the ball for that quick cut into the lane. This fascination filters into a small admiration for a select few coaches who encompass the real ideals of the game. (Mike Krzyzewski, Pat Summitt, Gene Keady, Ed Wooden)

Last January, I lifted up accolades for Tennessee’s Head Coach, Bruce Pearl, only to find out that he had fallen to the pressures and guise of winning over success. At that same time, a young coach at Butler was beginning to build a new example of how to coach basketball. Brad Stevens is quickly becoming the new darling of the mid-major collegiate basketball universe; however, that is not the most important thing he is doing. By emphasizing his “The Butler Way,” (Five Key Ideas: Humility, Passion, Unity, Servanthood, Thankfulness) he has built a program dedicated to build men and winners.

Below is a great character study sent out by FCA last Tuesday. No matter what happened this past week I still feel compelled to share his story.

It’s not a mistake that the Butler Bulldogs are back in the Final Four. Yes, they won some close games to make it back to the Big Dance in Houston, but it’s been more than a two-week journey that got them there.

It started when Butler hired a young man named Brad Stevens. Coach Stevens is a man of deep convictions: his faith, his family and his future—all of which are placed in God’s hands. He runs his program the same way. Coach Stevens calls it “The Butler Way.” This is how he describes it: “It starts with being a values-based organization and sticking to a vision and a mission that you’re trying to achieve—the values that we deem necessary and important to have a successful team and be fulfilled as individuals. Certainly there are a lot of ways it’s been phrased, but the bottom line is it’s about doing things for others and really enjoying the journey while, at the same time, constantly striving to get a little bit better every day.”

Coach Stevens sets the example for his team. In his personal life, he strives to be better every day. That affects his coaching, his teaching and his leading. Ultimately, it is lived out through his faith in Christ. “I hope [my faith] affects everything I do. Just as I ask our team to try constantly to improve every day, I’m trying to improve every day. And that being the most important aspect of my life, that’s the part where I think I’ve got the greatest room for improvement.”

The Butler Way is all about improving each day as a player and a person on and off the floor. Coach Stevens and many of his players have chosen to apply these same principles to their spiritual lives as well.

Just as this great basketball program has a “way” in place to strive for great success, we too should have a plan for our own spiritual journey. If Coach Stevens’ young men only listened to his instructions but chose to do what they wanted, would they be in the Final Four once again? I doubt it. But like James 1:22 teaches us, we cannot just listen to God’s Word, we need to do what it says.

Our spiritual growth starts with listening to God’s Word and applying it to our everyday lives. That is where growth takes place. The Butler Way works because these young men are applying the coach’s plan. Our Eternal Coach has the ultimate and best way for us to live, as well: accept that you are a sinner and need a Savior, believe in Jesus as His resurrected Son, submit to Him as the Lord of your life, and start living for Him. Commit to doing more than just listening to His Word, and, instead, follow His instructions with all your heart.

The Butler Way is an excellent plan, but the Way of the Master is even greater. In fact, it’s the greatest plan of all. As a Christian, even Coach Stevens would heartily agree.

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About Model_BFW

Social Studies and English Assistant Professor at Model Lab School, EKU. My interests include education technology, social media in the classroom, politics, creativity studies, comic books, and writing.

Posted on April 5, 2011, in FCA, Personal, Sports and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on FCA: Teamwork and “The Butler Way”.

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