LaVall Jordan ’01 returned home to Butler University on Wednesday, June 14, to become the school’s 24th men’s basketball coach, pledging to uphold the values of the Butler Way and to build on past successes.
Jordan, who played at Butler from 1997-2001 and served on the coaching staff from 2003-2007, said being hired to lead the team at his alma mater was a dream come true.
“I’m blessed, honored, humbled to lead this program,” he told an audience in the Hinkle Fieldhouse Wildman Room that included family, friends, former teammates, and current players. “I can’t wait for the first game. When I listen and hear the chant ‘B-U, T-L-E, R you a Bulldog,’ I may stop coaching for a second and turn around and say ‘Hell, yeah.’”
Jordan earned his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Butler and went on to play professional basketball in Europe. His coaching career began on the Butler sidelines, first as Coordinator of Basketball Operations, then as an Assistant Coach for three seasons (2004–2007). He helped guide the Bulldogs to a 29-7 record in 2006-2007, sharing the Horizon League regular season title in 2007. Butler advanced to the Sweet 16 in the 2007 NCAA Tournament before a loss to eventual national champion, Florida.
He spent three years at Iowa under Todd Lickliter (2007–2010), followed by six seasons as an Assistant Coach with the University of Michigan basketball program under head coach John Beilein. Last season, he was Head Coach at Milwaukee.
Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier introduced Jordan, calling him “a man of high character and integrity, one of the very first checkmarks we have to make here in hiring someone to lead this program.” He said he hired Jordan not just because of his successes on the court, but because of his track record “as a mentor, a leader, a developer of young men – a person who accentuates the value of a degree from Butler University.”
Jordan promised to bring a holistic approach to coaching that includes teaching and mentoring so that when the players leave, they’ll be great husbands, fathers, and community leaders.
“I wouldn’t be who I am today without great teachers and great mentors in the locker room helping me grow from a young adult into a man,” he said.
He described Butler as “a place built on values.”
“We use those values as the guiding principles for our basketball program,” he said. “Those values are in my DNA, having lived it each and every day as a student-athlete here at Butler. And I’ve carried those values with me, I’ve carried the Butler Way with me, everywhere I’ve coached. No question.”
Jordan remembered being recruited to Butler by Collier as a high school student in Albion, Michigan. Jordan said Butler was the only official visit he took. On the drive home, his father asked, “What else are you looking for?”
“I couldn’t answer it,” Jordan said. His father told him, “‘Sleep on it, but if you don’t have an answer for it, then this is the place.
Jordan said it was the people—Mike Marshall was his student host—that convinced him Butler was the right choice. As a freshman, the team made the NCAA tournament, and by his senior year the Bulldogs won a tournament game for the first time in 39 years.
“And away it went,” he said, “because of the type of people.”