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Good reason to bleed Butler bluePosted Friday, April 1, 2011, at 2:36 PM
Let's face it, unless you're a Kentucky Wildcat fan, a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth or have Connecticut in the office pool, you're probably rooting for Butler to win the NCAA basketball tournament.
And in Greencastle and Putnam County, Ind., rightly so.
We not only want Butler to win it all -- to paraphrase what they say in Hoosiers -- "for all the little schools who never got there" but also because the Bulldogs' style and history is so synonymous with how we enjoy and embrace the game.
The most obvious local connection, of course, is Brad Stevens, the 34-year-old Butler coach. Stevens graduated from DePauw University here in Greencastle in 1999 and probably would be peddling Prozac for Eli Lilly if it weren't for the basketball itch he needed to scratch.
Stevens' young rise to back-to-back Final Fours has been well documented locally and nationally now. By all accounts he is as fine a person as he is a basketball coach.
But we have had other connections with Butler basketball, clear back to the Tony Hinkle heyday when Bainbridge legend Archie Chadd was a standout player and captained the 1928 Butler team.
The following year Chadd became an assistant coach, helping Hinkle and the Bulldogs claim the 1929 National Collegiate Basketball Championship in the days before the NCAA tourney.
Chadd, a 1924 Bainbridge High School grad who in January of 2009 was named Putnam County's "greatest sport legend," is a charter member of the Butler Sports Hall of Fame and a 1963 inductee into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Jeff Blue is another Bainbridge-Butler link. Blue was Butler's leading scorer in 1963 and 1964 before being selected by the Boston Celtics in the 1965 NBA draft. An injury cut short his efforts at a pro basketball career.
A three-year all-conference performer and team MVP, Blue finished his Butler career with season and career scoring and rebounding records. Forty-six years later, he still stands 11th on the Butler all-time scoring list with 1,392 point.
Still heading that all-time Butler scoring list is Cloverdale product Chad Tucker. Tucker, who passed away in 1996, was a three-time Butler MVP and three-time first-team all-conference performer. He earned honorable mention All-America honors in 1985.
Tucker finished his career with 2,321 points, a mark that still stands despite all the recent Butler basketball success. He is also the school's career field goal leader at 912 and also ranks in the school's top 10 in rebounding, field-goal shooting and free-throw shooting.
So, yes, we can all share a little in the current Butler success story. Go, Bulldogs!
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A native of Chicago and a graduate of the University of Missouri, Eric Bernsee has enjoyed residing in Greencastle for more than 25 years. Years of consuming McDonald's iced teas, Dairy Castle flurries and Marvin's GCBs have helped make him the man he is today.
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