MATTHEW VANTRYON | SPORTS EDITOR
His job description is lengthy, his duties never-ending. But judging by the words of those who know him, he is more than up for the challenge.
Brandon Crone, a 2007 Butler alumnus, was named director of basketball operations in mid-October. Crone replaced T.J. Saint, who left in July to become a video editor for the Detroit Pistons.
It has been a long and winding road for the Indiana native, but basketball has always been in the picture.
After being a two-time All-State player at Frankfort High School, Crone played for the Bulldogs from 2003-07. He was a two-time captain and led the team to an appearance in the Sweet 16 as a senior while earning team MVP honors.
True to his nature, he deflects praise for his success.
“I always considered myself a hard worker from day one, just trying to get in the system and learn things you need to do to be successful,” he said. “I had a lot of good guards and players around me that allowed me to get open shots.”
After Butler, Crone headed overseas. He played in Europe for three seasons, and visited 12 countries in that span. Crone said it was the fulfillment of a life-long dream, but one aspect of European basketball was troubling.
“It was hard to get ice,” he said. “They’re not big on ice, icing your knees. You can’t even get ice refills for drinks over there.”
He ventured back to the States and immediately found a role in coaching. First as an assistant at nearby Park Tudor High School, then Nova Southeastern University.
He coached at Nova for three years under head coach Gary Tuell. Tuell said Crone’s work ethic and passion were paramount.
“He did everything here,” Tuell said. “You name it, he did it. And he did it all well.”
From film editing to coaching, from scouting to working with the budget, Crone was a jack-of-all-trades.
When Butler came calling, Crone jumped at the opportunity. His former boss said he was sad to see him go.
“I was very fortunate to have him here for three years,” Tuell said. “He became like a son to me. I miss him a lot and Butler is lucky to have him.”
Tuell said the same drive that made Crone successful as an assistant will transfer to his role with the Bulldogs.
“He’s familiar with the program and their history, and The Butler Way,” he said. “He knows people there, he knows alumni, he knows people in Indianapolis. He bleeds Butler blue.”
Much like his days at Nova, Crone’s duties at Butler vary. Some days it is film work, other days it is making sure player meals are taken care of. One of his biggest roles is to oversee the team’s student managers.
Clayton Young, junior and third-year student manager at Butler, watched Crone as a Butler player. He said the passion he displayed on the court carries over to his roles in the office.
“He’s a great guy,” Young said. “I grew up in Indy, so I watched him as a player. He still has that same work ethic now that he had as a player, and he has a great basketball mind.”
The roles of managers can be varied and hectic as well. Young said Crone has done a great job making sure things get taken care of.
“He’s been really helpful working with the managers, because a lot of times we’re the ones coding film and things like that,” he said. “He’s done a great job of being on top of it.”
Crone may be seven years removed from college, but Young said he still shows signs of being a kid at heart, especially if his fantasy football teams are involved.
When it is time for business, Crone handles that too.
“You can see that young man mentality about him, but when it comes time to get business done, he’s really good at making sure things are on track,” Young said.
Perhaps his former coach summed it up best. Crone is a Bulldog at heart.
“He’s a first-class human being, had great character, he’s an extremely hard worker and he’s passionate about what he does,” Tuell said. “He loves Butler. His heart has always been with Butler, and it’s a perfect fit for Butler to hire him.”