The Butler Way is a saying that was first implemented by former athletic coach Tony Hinkle. The phrase is a staple of Butler athletics to this day, often heard from a number of Bulldog coaches and athletes.
The Butler Way extends itself into all sports. The athletics department’s mission statement is: “The intercollegiate athletic department’s mission is to support the university’s purpose by providing exceptional educational and athletic experiences for all student-athletes…The Butler Way.”
“Every game and every practice is about The Butler Way from the top on down, from coaches and players,” football coach Jeff Voris said. “It’s great how you can see it mirror through all of the sports.”
Hinkle, a basketball, football and baseball coach for the Bulldogs, left his mark on Butler’s campus with his many accomplishments. His legacy has been able to live on at the university thanks, in part, to the idea of The Butler Way.
Hinkle based The Butler Way on five simple principles, which are still linked to Butler athletics today. Those five principles—humility, passion, unity, servanthood and thankfulness—are listed in the men’s locker room of Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The phrase is not just an on-campus saying.
The Butler Way was able to make its way to the national stage during Butler’s 2009-2010 men’s basketball national championship run. Sportswriters used it to describe the team’s success.
Kellen Dunham, a freshman men’s basketball recruit, said he came to Butler with an idea of what he thought The Butler Way was and how he would try to embody it.
“The Butler Way is a sense of humility and being able to represent Butler in a positive way,” Dunham said. “We use it in our work ethic on and off the court, getting good grades as well as performing at practice.”
Redshirt junior wide receiver Brendan Shannon, who has been named to the Pioneer Football League Academic Honor Roll in each of his three years at Butler, said that The Butler Way is a good principle for the school to implement.
“The Butler Way is doing things the right way, staying focused on our goals and getting things done,” Shannon said.
Cole Minard, a sophomore men’s soccer student manager, said The Butler Way involves doing things behind the scenes that need to be done in order for a team to be successful.
“Seeing the guys play great soccer and win is what I love, and it keeps me coming back day after day to help them improve and keep winning,” Minard said. “So I try to do everything I can to make that happen for them.”
As a transfer student, sophomore women’s soccer player Katie Reed said she hadn’t heard about The Butler Way until her first preseason with the team.
Reed said she really noticed how the team felt like a family on and off the field and how team members and coaches always have the team’s best interest in mind.
“To me, The Butler Way is all about putting the team first,” Reed said, “striving for that personal best and holding yourself accountable to those characteristics that will only benefit the team.”