South Orange, NJ - In David Woods' excellent book ‘Underdawgs' there is frequent reference to the Butler men's program saying regarding doing things 'the Butler way'. It didn't start with Brad Stevens, now the Boston Celtics head coach, but it seemed to be epitomized and publicized during his brief but outstanding tenure.
In a sense the ‘Butler way' is a prominent part of the women's program. Veteran coach Beth Couture embraces much of Stevens' philosophy, employing his principles in her own successful program. Couture discussed this after her Butler team defeated Seton Hall 75-69 at Walsh Gym on Saturday.
There are schools where the women's and men's staffs virtually work in isolation. Even amidst an air of animosity or jealousy. That is not the case within the confines of storied Hinkle Fieldhouse.
While she thinks the world current coach, Couture refers to Stevens as not only a good friend "but also part of the family." She told of social gatherings with Stevens and his family and how the Butler basketball offices often had members of both the women's and men's staffs talking basketball, sharing ideas and offering suggestions.
One of the main things Stevens impressed on Couture is to keep an even disposition - try to stay in the same temperament whether in the midst of a ten game win streak or three consecutive losses.
"He (Stevens) tried to convey that to young coaches," she said.
"I'm an old coach," she added in jest, ‘but it is something I try to work on in my approach."
Couture admits basketball analytics were not big in her coaching philosophy. After working with and listening to Stevens' analytical emphasis, she began to get more curious regarding the numbers side of the game.
"But he got me thinking differently and I do use some of his ideas to show our team, for instance, how valuable a possession is," Couture noted.
A veteran of 24 years of coaching, Couture is in her 12th at the Indianapolis-based institution. She has built a solid program at Butler. Highlights are four twenty win seasons, four WNIT appearances including advancing to the second round in 2009. To date the Bulldogs are 7-7 overall with a 2-1 record in the Big East. For Couture, it is her third conference in as many years. They finished out in the Horizon League in 2012. Last year saw an 8-6 record in the Atlantic 10. Now the competition is provided by Big East membership.
With the adaptation to a new league and different challenges, there is a constant: the presence, though states removed, of Brad Stevens.
"He (Stevens) will be on the road and text us after a win," Couture said. "He really doesn't have to but that's Brad and we appreciate the thoughts."
No surprise on Stevens' part. After all it is the Butler Way.