Stevens Hot Property In Coaching Carousel

Butler Coach Could Command Millions

To the victor go the spoils -- a familiar refrain that is playing out for Butler coach Brad Stevens.

Although the Butler Bulldogs didn't pull off an upset of Duke in the NCAA Tournament's championship game, Stevens and Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski are both rumored as potential targets for jobs that could net each of them millions of dollars.

In Krzyzewski's case, that would be millions more dollars. The veteran coach has been down the road before, and enjoys a generous salary for his years of service and success at Duke.

According to published reports, the NBA's New Jersey Nets have been wooing Krzyzewski, with promise of an astronomical salary of more than $10 million.

But for Stevens, 33, this is all new. In his third year at Butler, the young coach earned about $400,000 -- a far cry from the millions he could now command elsewhere.

Reports indicated that Oregon, having struck out in pursuit of other high-profile coaches, asked for permission to talk to Stevens about its opening. The Ducks have said they are willing to part with up to $3 million a year for a new head coach.

While Butler could more than double its offering to Stevens, the school won't compete salary-wise with larger schools willing to shell out a lot of money for prospects of winning big in the future.

"For $1 million, maybe we can stretch, but the $4 million to $6 million that I hear, I have to give pause," said Butler President Bobby Fong. "We are an educational institution. We do need to balance the need of the teaching and learning operations that we have with regard to salaries."

The jump from Butler, a mid-major with a strong basketball tradition, to a larger school isn't guaranteed to work out, and there's no more glaring example of that than with Stevens' predecessor.

Todd Lickliter languished at Iowa after making the jump from Butler. He was sacked last month after three lackluster seasons.

But one only has to look back just a bit further at Butler for an example of someone for which the jump worked out splendidly.

Thad Matta spent a successful season at Butler before going to Xavier and eventually to Ohio State, building that program back to prominence.

Aside from salary, many feel Stevens will stay put in Indianapolis simply because of his ties to the community.

Stevens grew up in Zionsville, played collegiately at DePauw University and worked at Eli Lilly before going into coaching full time as an assistant at Butler.

But community ties don't ensure a coach will hang around. Lickliter was also a native Hoosier and spent many years coaching in the state before bolting to Iowa for more money and a promise of more prestige.