Mens’ Basketball Coach Brad Stevens addressed students and members of the community about the importance of taking advice in a speech on Wednesday, Sept. 15 at Clowes Memorial Hall.
An Evening with Brad Stevens: Choosing a Path, Living a Dream was sponsored by Butler’s Center for Faith and Vocation.
Judy Cebula, Director of the Center for Faith and Vocation, said she wanted students to hear the stories of members from the community.
“Coach Stevens has a great story,” Cebula said in the introduction portion. “He has found great meaning and goals in life.”
Stevens received a standing ovation as he started his address.
“I got such a warm greeting,” Stevens said. “Obviously, we haven’t played a game yet.”
The coach was grateful for the invitation, but he wasn’t exactly sure why he was asked to share his advice with students and others.
“I’m really hesitant to give personal advice,” Stevens said. “I feel like I can learn a lot more from you than you can learn from me.”
Stevens said he felt like he had received a lot of support over the years from his family.
“My family provided a home where faith was an important part of our lifestyle,” Stevens said. “And that has really helped me over the years.”
Stevens took a full-time assistant coaching position after leaving his job at Eli Lilly and Company in 2001.
“I knew I wanted to end up coaching,” Stevens said. “The passion for the game never left.”
Even then, Stevens said he knew the importance of doing your best and putting your all into the things you do.
“If there’s something you want to do, jump in with two feet and get to it,” Stevens said.
When Stevens was offered a position on the coaching staff, he said that the values written on the walls of Hinkle Fieldhouse made Butler stand out.
“With those written on the wall, I knew that they really emphasized the importance of humility,” Stevens said. “Sometimes, that gets lost in the shuffle, which is not good.”
While adversity is hard to adjust to, success can be just as difficult to acclimate, Stevens said.
Stevens said the thing he wanted audience members to take with them that night is what has helped him all along the way.
“Surround yourself with good people,” Stevens said.
Stevens also said he has discovered how important it is to be true to yourself.
“I had to be me. I just have to my job and hopefully, the results will take care of themselves,” Stevens said. “Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to be yourself.”
One lesson Stevens said he tells the basketball team is that they might have to do things they don’t want to do.
“Great teams go through difficult times together,” Stevens said. “You can’t always change the circumstances, but you can change your attitude.”
While travelling after recruiting season, Stevens said that idea was very important to him when his plane from Florida to Indiana went through turbulence. While many passengers complained about the bumps of the airplane, the children on the plane acted like it was just another ride at an amusement park.
“I learned that it is what it is,” Stevens said. “You can either be mad about it or you can close your eyes and raise your hands and just say ‘woohoo.’”
After last season’s loss to Duke during the National Championship, Stevens said that he had no regrets and told the team to feel the same way.
“At the end of the day, if you prepare yourself to the best of your abilities, you should walk away with no regrets,” Stevens said. “Don’t pay attention to the negativity. Focus on your task at hand.”
Goals are something Stevens said he does not set for himself.
“I believe in the value of striving toward something and living meaningfully, I don’t believe in setting limits for myself,” Stevens said.
The future past his time at Butler is something he is unsure of.
“I’m only 33, so I’m not ready to write my autobiography yet,” Stevens said. “I tell my team that it’s not about the highlights here at Butler, it’s about the highlights afterwards.”