Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Butler head coach LaVall Jordan points team to Christ after season gets cut short

When the Butler men’s basketball team found out its season was over, head coach LaVall Jordan and his staff called a meeting. Anyone in New York at the Big East Tournament with the team — players, family members, friends — was invited. During the meeting, Jordan prayed over everyone in attendance.

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“He invited us all in after we found out the news and just prayed over everybody,” redshirt senior forward Sean McDermott recently told the Butler Collegian. “Family, friends, whoever wanted to come. And I thought for me that was really special that he would do that in such a challenging moment.”

The Bulldogs ended the regular season with three straight wins and a 22-9 overall record. They were a lock to make the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years under Jordan. Because of the coronavirus, those three consecutive victories would be the final games of their season. Butler ranked No. 23 in the season’s final AP poll.

“You don’t have true closure,” Jordan told the Collegian. “You do have the finality of it, but in terms of your emotional well-being, you don’t have the opportunity to get beat or lose and say that you gave it your all. You didn’t have that, that’s the difference … It’s a completely different conversation when there is no opportunity.”

Jordan’s coaching philosophy is based on Ephesians 4:11-16. The passage says, in part, “So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

When Jordan talks about his program, it’s not a coincidence words like “togetherness” and “growth” pop up on a regular basis. He is processing this global pandemic and a lost opportunity at a deep run in March by holding firmly to his faith in Christ.

In such an uncertain and chaotic time, Jordan is trying to focus on the one thing he has control over.

“We don’t get to control opportunities and we don’t get to control outcomes,” he said. “What do we control? We can control our obedience.”

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