Thanks to Zak Boisvert, the assistant coach for the Iona College men’s basketball program for passing this article along. Zak puts out a great newsletter and you can sign up for it by emailing him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is an excerpt from Forbes written by Jason Belzer titled: "Why Butler Basketball Holds The Key To Organizational Success" -- read the entire article here -- it's worth it.
Almost 100 years ago, the legendary Paul “Tony” Hinkle began what would become a legendary half century reign over the Butler athletics program and community. A true renaissance man, Hinkle accumulated an incredible 1060-800-16 record over the course of his career coaching the Butler football, basketball and baseball teams. While the future “Wizard of Westwood”, John Wooden, was still perfecting his jump shot as a player up the road at Purdue, Hinkle was performing his own wizardry, leading the Bulldogs to two national titles and a reputation as “Big Ten Killers”. Even then, the small school from a small Midwest city was slaying giants.
The impact Hinkle had on the Butler program goes beyond just wins and losses. Under his leadership, Butler developed not only the first true culture of success in sports, but among modern day organizations as we know. Hinkle passed down his teachings to his coaching proteges and players throughout the years, the programs culture propagating into all aspects of the Butler community. Barry Collier, former head coach and now athletic director of the Bulldog program, eventually formalized the program philosophies by creating five pillars collectively called, “The Butler Way”:
Humility – Those who humble themselves will be exalted;
Passion – Do not be lukewarm, commit to excellence;
Unity – Do not divide our house, team first;
Servanthood – Make teammates better, lead by giving; and
Thankfulness – Learn from every circumstance
The principles that make up The Butler Way are not uncommon to coaches or business leaders. What is different is that Hinkle and those that followed him have not only lived this philosophy themselves, but built the program with fellow coaches and players who already embodied those same beliefs. College basketball teams, not unlike successful corporations, are organizations that compete to attract the top talent in their respective fields. In many cases, with the best talent also comes the biggest egos and organizations can quickly fill to the brim with toxic superstars. Rather than be like most leaders who attempt to forcibly install a “for the greater good” culture in which the individual exists below the team, Butler has instead recruited players who are already willing to sacrifice maximizing their own self-interest for the ultimate goal of winning as a team. Players can thus devote themselves entirely to playing their role without being biased towards shifting any particular situation towards an outcome that favors only them.
The Butler Way has always begun with a collective determination to conduct oneself appropriately in all circumstances. All Butler team members and coaches are required to promote the program’s culture by doing the following:
Living our core values;
Placing the well-being of our teammates before individual desires;
Embracing the process of growth; and
Demonstrating toughness in every circumstance
Yet the Bulldog’s success is more than just principles, but rather resides in the life blood of the very players who join the program and help perpetuate every positive thing the Butler name stands for. Butler’s Associate Head Coach, Matthew Graves, has been a part of the Bulldog basketball program for over two decades as both a player and a coach. Graves is the living embodiment of this very concept.
“We have talented players but even greater teammates. Everyone is consumed with embracing the core values our program while also making sure to enjoy the process of getting better everyday”, said Graves, adding, “Everyone involved with the program becomes firmly rooted by those values; it makes it easy for us to distinguish the type of player who shares our vision and goals.”