But if anyone can handle a rebuilding project it is Stevens, who brought the mid-major Bulldogs to the verge of the national title in 2010 and 2011.
Also, college coaches have historically not done well in the transition to the pro game. But Stevens is much different from Rick Pitino, John Calipari and many of the others who have tried the jump to the NBA.
The thing that separates Stevens from those other coaches is that he stays true to his roots and is virtually unchanged from the success he has achieved in coaching.
I will not say that Stevens and I have a close working relationship. Since graduating from Butler in 2008, I have covered numerous Butler games, but I am not at practice every day or even at every game like some of the beat writers for the Bulldogs.
But a couple of stories have made it easy for me to grasp the kind of person Stevens is.
Stevens took over at Butler during my senior year at the university. The move also coincided with me moving to the men’s basketball beat for the school paper.
With a light class schedule my senior year and the Bulldogs having — at the time — arguably the greatest season in school history, I traveled around the country with the team, covering 29 of the team’s 34 contests.
One of those games was an early February contest up in Green Bay. My original plan was to drive up Green Bay for the Saturday night game, then stay up in Wisconsin for the Bulldogs Tuesday night game in Milwaukee. Unfortunately, on the drive back down from Green Bay, the winds off Lake Michigan picked up and with heavy snow blowing, I spun out my car into the median and sustained a decent amount of damage to the front of my car.