Lynch is Mr. Butler

Bill Lynch’s career path has come full circle.

He played football and basketball at Butler, and after a series of football coaching jobs, he finds himself back at his alma mater.

After 33 years of coaching football, including 18 as a head coach, Lynch has now been serving as one of Butler’s associate athletic directors since March 2011.

Lynch is the associate athletic director for development, as well as the football sport administrator. He helps manage the Bulldog Club, which provides annual donations to athletics.

The Bulldog Club gets gifts from alumni, faculty and community members to help provide benefits to athletics, such as the current Hinkle Fieldhouse renovations.

Lynch said he considers himself to be a “point person” for the campaign, as he helps the fundraising process.

Lynch began his coaching career as an assistant football coach for the Bulldogs before becoming the head coach in 1985. He led the team to four conference championships in five seasons before going to Ball State as an assistant.

Lynch’s successor as head coach at Butler was former football teammate Ken LaRose, who is now the radio color commentator for Butler football.

“He’s a winner ever since I knew him,” LaRose said.

Lynch’s first head coaching position was with the Cardinals from 1995 to 2002, where he led the team to one bowl game and two division championships.

After one season as head coach at DePauw in 2004, Lynch served as an assistant at Indiana University for two seasons. He then became head coach of the Hoosiers for four seasons, earning a trip to the Insight Bowl in his first season.

Lynch came to Butler in  1972 as a student and played both football and basketball. Lynch said he took a lot away from his playing days with the Bulldogs.

“I think it’s like anybody that looks back at a playing career,” Lynch said. “It’s the relationships you’ve built and the friendships and the ones that have lasted throughout the years.”

Lynch played right after Tony Hinkle retired, during a transitional period, but he said it was a great experience. He said the team played to a degree of success, but it pales in comparison to the recent success of the men’s basketball team.

Butler Athletic Director Barry Collier played basketball with Lynch for the Bulldogs and said Lynch was the first Butler student he ever made contact with.

In the summer of 1974, Collier received a recruitment letter from Lynch, who was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter at Butler, and Collier eventually became Lynch’s fraternity brother.

Collier, who transferred to Butler as a junior, said he was impressed how easily Lynch made the transition from football season to basketball season.

“He was a leader on the team immediately,” Collier said. “He was kind of a ‘player-coach’ on the floor, because of how he relied on experience and knowledge to succeed as much as he did physicality.”

Collier said a lot people think Lynch and Butler are synonymous.

“Whether that makes him ‘Mr. Butler,’ I don’t know,” Collier said.

LaRose said he likes the title of Mr. Butler for Lynch.

“He is the perfect ambassador for Butler in the position that he is in,” LaRose said.

“When you think of Butler, many people think of Bill Lynch,” Collier said. “And when you mention Bill Lynch, many people think of Butler.”

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