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Let’s Speculate! Potential Butler head basketball coach candidates

Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.

Today’s program is Butler, coached by LaVall Jordan for the last 5 seasons (fired on April 1).

  • Jeff Boals – Ohio head coach
    • Boals is in a comfortable situation at his alma mater Ohio, going to the NCAA Tournament last year and the CBI this year (after winning 24 games). We’re not sure he would leave right now, but he’s worth a look for Butler given his ties to Matta and success as a head coach.
  • Bryce Drew – Grand Canyon head coach
    • The former Valparaiso player and coach has a permanent place in the rich basketball history of the Hoosier State. He left Valpo, where he was 124-49 in five seasons at the helm, in 2016 to take over at Vanderbilt. Things didn’t go as well there, though he did take the Dores to the NCAA Tournament in 2017, and now he is out west at GCU where he won the 2021 WAC title and went Dancing in his first year there. A homecoming for Drew would be a slam dunk for Butler, even if he doesn’t have any direct ties to the school.
  • John Groce – Akron head coach
    • Groce is a prominent member of the Thad Matta coaching tree who was an assistant for one year at Butler (plus three at Xavier and four at Ohio State) before becoming the head coach at Ohio in 2008. He didn’t do enough at Illinois to win the fanbase over but has been a success at his other two head coaching stops. The Zips won the 2022 MAC Tournament and went back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly a decade.
  • Chris Mack – former Louisville, Xavier head coach
  • Terry Johnson – Purdue assistant coach
    • If Butler goes the high-major assistant route, then Johnson is probably the best choice. Arriving in West Lafayette last year after four seasons working under Chris Holtmann at Ohio State. Before that, he was on staff at Butler for ten seasons total, spending time assisting Holtmann, Brandon Miller and Brad Stevens. He’s been part of so many successful teams and is ready to become a head coach in his own right.
  • Ronald Nored – Indiana Pacers assistant coach
    • The former Butler star was the two-time Horizon League DPOY and was the starting PG for the Bulldog teams that finished back-to-back National Runner-up. Nored has been in coaching since 2012, working at the HS, college and professional levels. He was the head coach of the Long Island Nets (G-League) for two seasons and recently returned to Indianapolis as an assistant with the Pacers.
  • Thad Matta – former Butler, Xavier, Ohio State head coach
    • Currently in a non-coaching role down the road at Indiana, Matta had spent four years out of the game after getting fired at Ohio State. Matta was the head man at Butler for just one season, winning a league title and going to the NCAA Tournament, before moving on to Xavier. His coaching credentials are unmatched on this list, but the desire to get back into coaching may not be there anymore.