We're sorry Butler lost, but....

Dateline: Tue 06 Apr 2010

we're very pleased about the huge positive fallout that comes with making it into the finals of the NCAA.

First, Butler's success over the weekend -- almost beating No. 1 seeded Duke University with a final score of Duke 61, Butler 59 -- puts tiny Butler, with 4,000 plus students, in the nation's spotlight.

The model for "humble college goes to the show, makes good and reaps rewards" is not in fact the "Hoosiers" movie and Milan's terrific win, but little ol' George Mason University in Fairfax County, Virgiinia.

George Mason, with 32,000 students and a renown free-market oriented economics department, still was not widely known in most circles. Then the school made it into the Final Four in March 2006, only to be defeated by the Florida Gators.

Butler made it one game farther.

The result for George Mason?

  1. An increase in the number of applicants. 
  2. An increase in the overall GPA of the applicants (better quality applicant).
  3. A huge bump in sales of their college gear.  Mason saw a 95% increase in clothing sales and bookstore gift sales increased 74%. 

A reader of this blog who heard an interview with George Mason's communications guy on sports radio recalls that the school's merchandise sales went from $30,000 in March of 2006 up to as much as $130,000. Here's a link from the Mason Gazette in July 2006 if you want to read more about all the stuff they promoted:

http://gazette.gmu.edu/articles/8727

Kinda makes me want to go out and buy a Butler t-shirt. Seriously. Tried to get one this past weekend, but everywhere I went was sold out. So someone, please address this need...

And it's not just the economic windfall from sales of shirts, etc., that's boosted George Mason.

George Mason's head basketball coach, Jim Larranaga, was asked for interviews by all sorts of media outlets during this recent Final Four. He wrote a reflective piece for the Washington Post about Butler's journey, in light of what GM experienced. Here is part of what he said, published in the Post on April 2:

"There are no words that can describe it. Planning for it can take years, with no guarantee of ultimate success. And there is no better feeling for a coach or a player. Taking your team to the Final Four is like climbing Mount Everest and planting your university's flag at the top.."

Larranaga traces a bit of the history of the Butler program, then sums up its leadership under Coach Brad Stevens, "who has built his own program based on the same simple philosophy -- 'humility, passion, unity, servanthood and thankfulness' -- that was followed by the coaches who preceded him..."

Here's the link to what Larranaga had to say:

http://gomason.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/040210aab.html

So in truth, this game Monday night was about much, much more than winning or losing.

The fallout? Sure, we're all disappointed, but there is nothing but good in store for Butler University, its exemplary coach, sports staff, its young and very decent and talented players and -- by extension --  the city of Indianapolis.

In that, we can all take Dawg pride. Woof!

 

Comments

hendy [Member] said:

It was one of the finer basketball games I've seen. Team players. Not like the NBA, where everyone's a solo star. Indy was a good host I'm told. I was on a flight to Charlotte on Tuesday, lots of unsolicited praise for the venue and the hospitality.

2010-04-08 00:45:32

varangianguard [unverified] said:

I would certainly agree with everything in this post, except for whoever it was who called Butler "humble".

They must have snuck in using Merriam-Webster's 3a subdefinition, "ranking low in a hierarchy or scale", because none of the others (including 3b) apply.

I've heard Butler (and its alumi) called many things over the years, but "humble" was never one of them.

;)

Still, this was the best tournament in years and years. Congratulations to the school, the coach, the team and all the fans who helped make this happen. You deserve your (Dawg) day in the sun.

:)

2010-04-08 05:49:02

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