INDIANAPOLIS — LaVall Jordan is a basketball coach at Butler.
The university made the announcement Friday amid speculation that Jordan would be fired after a 14-19 season, the Bulldogs’ most losses in 32 years. It was his third of four losing seasons, something that hadn’t happened at Butler since the 1980s.
“After a thorough evaluation, I have come to the decision that a change in the direction of our men’s basketball program is necessary,” athletic director Barry Collier said in a press release. “These decisions are never easy, but are incredibly more difficult when they affect a top Bulldog who has represented our university so well for so many years.
“I want to thank LaVall for his dedication to our program, and we wish him and his family the best for the future.”
Continued:What you need to know about Butler’s fired basketball coach LaVall Jordan
A new coach will be Butler’s fifth since 2013.
Since Tony Hinkle’s arrival in 1926, Butler hired a trainer, Joe Sexson, who was neither a Butler elder nor assistant. Sexson was ousted in 1989 after 12 seasons. George Theofanis and Brandon Miller resigned in 1977 and 2014, respectively.
So until Friday, Butler had one shot in almost a century.
Continued:Who’s next for Butler? Speculation centers on Thad Matta, Ohio coach Jeff Boals
Continued:What you need to know about basketball coach Butler LaVall Jordan
A pivotal decision for athletic director Barry Collier is whether to stay with the Butler family for a new coach or step out. Collier recruited Jordan as a player, coached him, hired him as the Bulldogs’ first black basketball coach.
In the era of the transfer portal, the Bulldogs must also see if they retain a young core. Those players include sophomores Chuck Harris, Myles Tate and Myles Wilmoth, freshmen Jayden Taylor, Simas Lukosius, DJ Hughes and Pierce Thomas, and 6-10 rookie Connor Turnbull.
Before Jordan was fired, Harris, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer with an 11.4 average, announced on his Twitter account that he would be back.
Butler will be active on the transfer portal, especially in bringing in big guys. They lacked size even before 6-8 Bryce Golden announced he was entering the transfer portal to take his extra season elsewhere.
In Jordan’s freshman year in 2018, at age 38, he was the second-youngest coach of 68 to enter the NCAA Tournament. In 2020, Butler climbed to No. 5, his highest-ever season ranking, but missed the canceled NCAA tournament.
The team has been plagued by injuries over two pandemic seasons. The Bulldogs have improved dramatically at the end of this season, but the wins haven’t reflected that. They were 1-6 in their last seven games, 3-9 in February/March.
In the Big East Tournament, the Bulldogs beat Xavier 89-82 in overtime and lost to top seed Providence 65-61. Butler was 0-3 against Providence’s Sweet 16 team, losing by seven, one and four.
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Butler, with the smallest basketball budget in the Big East, struggled to find his footing in the realigned conference. In Jordan’s five seasons, Butler was 40-54 in Big East games to rank eighth out of 11 teams.
Jordan was 3-4 in the Big East Tournament (the only Coach Butler to win a game), 1-3 in the Crossroads Classic and 5-31 against the Top 25.
The Bulldogs were 4-6 at home this season in the Big East, the worst such record since 2-7 in their freshman year, 2014.
Jordan played Butler from 1997 to 2001 and walked away with 91 wins, making him the winningest Bulldog in history at the time. He was the Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournament MVP in 2001 and was part of the team that beat Wake Forest for the Bulldogs’ first NCAA Tournament victory in 39 years.
He became an assistant coach at Butler, Iowa and Michigan. He was 11-24 in his only season in Milwaukee, leading the Panthers to last place in the 2017 Horizon League Championship Game.
Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.