Atlantic 10 move received warmly by coaches

Butler University’s move to the Atlantic 10 Conference brought praise from  coaches of several different athletic teams on campus.

Men’s basketball coach Brad Stevens said the move to the A-10 was no surprise and that the conference is one of the best basketball conferences in the county.

“It is one heck of a basketball league, and [it will be] strong this year,” Stevens said.

Stevens also said that this move provides his team a better chance of entering the NCAA tournament. Last year, the A-10 sent four teams to the NCAA tournament, whereas the Horizon League sent only one.

While there may be greater opportunities in basketball, softball saw no change in its quest for a championship.

The softball team must win the A-10 tournament in order to advance to the NCAA championship tournament, just as it was required to do in the Horizon League.

Despite this challenge, coach Scott Hall called the move a great opportunity and said he is excited for different challenges.

Hall, who enters his third year as Butler’s coach, said though he was just getting adjusted to Horizon League play, he is glad the move was made.

“I’m excited for the change,” Hall said. “Butler is a better fit for the A-10.”

As a spring sport, softball has more time to prepare for its new opposition. Hall said his upperclassmen are excited for the change in competition and scenery.

Men’s soccer coach Paul Snape also had a positive reaction to the move.

“We can really establish ourselves (in the A-10),” Snape said.

Butler’s change in conference entry date was altered over the summer, and, as a result, soccer and other fall sports have had little time to prepare for their new opponents.

Snape said his team moved on because there was nothing they could do.

Snape said the team was lucky that it did not have to change its packed and competitive schedule despite the quick move.

Stevens, Hall and Snape all said that this move will be great for the university within and outside athletics.

All three said they believe the move to the East Coast will drastically help their teams through recruiting, exposure, demographics and new markets.

Snape said more people will see the Bulldog signage, and the move exposes Butler to a region that may not know a lot about Butler.

“Whether you’re looking at academic reputation, recruitment of students, athletic competition and branding and so forth, it’s getting our brand out there on a bigger stage,” athletic director Barry Collier said.

Stevens said that the exposure of Butler on the East Coast should help build the school’s reputation nationwide.

“[The move] will show how ‘The Butler Way’ is the way to go,” he said.

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