Butler’s Barry Collier on longevity, competing in Big East and hiring Thad Matta


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To the extent Butler University has become a known quantity at the national level, we can thank its basketball program. Since 2006, the Bulldogs have earned seeds in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament 10 times, including reaching the national championship final twice. That 16-year period also coincides with the tenure of Barry Collier as Butler’s athletic director. He didn’t need an introduction to Bulldog fans when he was hired for the job, since he had coached the basketball team from 1989 to 2000, earning three NCAA tournament appearances. During that stretch, he was Horizon League Coach of the Year four times.

Over the past 16 years, Collier also has presided over an aggressive push into higher levels of competition, jumping from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 in 2012, and then to the Big East in 2013. Since then, Butler has invested tens of millions of dollars in renovating or building athletic facilities for a broad range of sports, with the cost largely picked up by donors. And in fact, Collier has enjoyed particular success since 2006 increasing the number of donors and the amounts they give to Butler athletics.

In the latest edition of the IBJ Podcast, host Mason King asks Collier, now 68, whether he plans to retire soon. That leads o a conversation about long-term goals, his success in fundraising and improving Butler athletic facilities, and Butler’s transition to the Big East. He looks to the past, including what he learned from Butler coaching legend Tony Hinkle, and to the future and his expectations for Butler basketball this year with the return of Thad Matta as head coach.

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