Aug. 1, 2006
Two days after entering the school's Athletic Hall of Fame, Barry Collier has been named athletic director at Butler University. Collier, the head men's basketball coach at the University of Nebraska for the past six seasons, was formally introduced as Butler's top athletic administrator by University President Dr. Bobby Fong at a press conference held in the Reilly Room on Butler's campus on Tuesday, August 1.
The announcement returned Collier to Butler for the second time since he graduated from the north side Indianapolis school in 1976. He served as the Butler men's basketball coach for 11 seasons, 1989-2000, and compiled the second-highest win total in school history before leaving for the position at Nebraska. Butler had nine winning seasons during Collier's 11 years, and the Bulldogs made six postseason tournament appearances.
"When we began the search for a new athletic director, we talked about getting someone with strong leadership ability, integrity, character and the ability to focus on a job and get it done. Well, we did even better," said Butler University President Dr. Bobby Fong. "I am certain we found the right person for Butler University. Barry Collier understands Butler not only from his days as a successful men's basketball coach but also as a student and former Butler men's basketball Most Valuable Player. He has a well thought-out vision for the future of Butler athletics, and I am confident he will lead Butler University to great heights."
In six seasons at Nebraska, Collier led the Huskers to an 89-91 record and two trips to the National Invitation Tournament. His last three squads produced a 51-41 (.554) mark and both of the school's postseason tournament bids. Collier's teams averaged 11 wins at home per season during his six years, and his 2003-04 squad posted the second-highest win total in Devaney Center history with 15 victories.
Last season, the Huskers finished 19-14 and placed sixth in the Big 12 conference. The 19 wins were the most for a Nebraska basketball team since 1999, and the sixth place conference finish was the highest for the Huskers since 1998. Nebraska also won two games in the Big 12 Tournament, which was the school's best effort since winning the tournament in 1994. Included in the 19 victories in 2005-06 were a pair of wins over nationally-ranked teams, giving the Huskers five upsets of "Top 25" teams in the past three seasons!
During Collier's tenure in Lincoln, the Huskers saw an unprecedented rise in academic standing. Nebraska had a league-leading 15 first-team academic All-Big 12 selections between 2003 and 2006, including two academic all-district performers in 2006. In addition, 16 of the 20 Huskers who completed their senior season under Collier earned their college diplomas, and one is on pace to earn his degree later this month.
Collier, 52, began his head-coaching career at Butler in 1989. In 11 seasons, he guided the Bulldogs to a 196-132 record, including a school-record five 20-win seasons. Prior to his arrival, Butler had just two 20-win seasons in 91 years of intercollegiate basketball. In his last four seasons at Butler, Collier guided the Bulldogs to a 90-39 (.698) record and four consecutive postseason tournament appearances. His 196 career wins remain the second-highest total in Butler history.
The former Butler basketball Most Valuable Player led the Bulldogs to the school's first Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now Horizon League) regular season men's basketball championship in 1996-97 and to back-to-back conference tournament titles in 1997 and 1998. He added another regular season title and a third tournament crown in 1999-2000, his final season at Butler. His 11-year conference record was 93-58 (.616) with seven first or second place regular season finishes. He was named conference Coach of the Year in 1991, 1997, 1999 and 2000.
Three of Collier's Butler teams advanced to the NCAA Tournament and three others reached the NIT. In 1997, he led the Bulldogs to their first NCAA Tournament berth in 35 years, and the following season he became the first coach to guide Butler to back-to-back NCAA Tournament bids. His final squad battled eventual national runner-up Florida into overtime in the NCAA Tournament, before losing on a last-second shot. The loss ended Butler's school-record 15-game winning streak.
The Bulldogs made NIT appearances under Collier in 1991, 1992 and 1999. The 1999 squad advanced to the third round of the NIT, before falling at Clemson.
During his 11 seasons as head coach at Butler, Collier had two players earn conference Player of the Year honors. He had one player named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America team and had one player earn a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Of the 37 players who completed their senior season under him, 36 earned their degree.
Collier prepared for his step into the head coaching ranks by serving as an assistant coach at five different schools over a 13-year period. He began his coaching career at Rose Hulman Institute in 1976-77, and then followed with assistant coaching stops at Seattle Central Community College (1977-78), the University of Idaho (1978-83), the University of Oregon (1983-86) and Stanford University (1986-89). During his three seasons at Stanford under head coach Mike Montgomery, he helped lead the Cardinal to berths in the 1988 NIT and the 1989 NCAA Tournament.
When Butler selected Collier as men's basketball coach in 1989, it marked a homecoming for the former Bulldog. He first came to Butler as a student-athlete in 1974, following two years at Miami-Dade Community College. He played basketball under coach George Theofanis for two seasons at Butler, and he was named a team captain and co-MVP in 1975-76. As a senior, he averaged 15.2 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds while earning first team all-conference recognition in the Indiana Collegiate Conference.
Collier attended Miami Palmetto High School in Miami, Fla., and later received an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Butler in 1976 and a Master of Science degree from Indiana State University in 1977. He has been a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches for 29 years, and he was named to the NABC Board of Directors in 2002.
Collier and his wife, Annette, are parents of three sons, Casey, Brady and Clay. Casey graduated from Nebraska in 2005, and he's currently in his second year of medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Brady is entering his final year at Nebraska, while Clay will begin college at Nebraska this fall.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT BARRY COLLIER:
"I congratulate Butler University on the successful recruitment of Barry Collier to succeed John Parry as athletic director. When I wrote to Barry after his appointment as head basketball coach in 1989, he reminded me that we had met during a visit, which I enjoyed in 1975 at his Butler fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha, when I was Mayor of Indianapolis. He mentioned that we both had been fortunate to move on to bigger opportunities. I appreciated many visits with Coach Collier during his remarkably successful coaching career at Butler, and I look forward to many more opportunities to work with him during our annual fitness festivals each September at Butler." --Senator Richard G. Lugar
"Barry is a first class guy in every way. He was the first guy I tried to hire when I took the (head-coaching) job at Stanford. He's very organized and he can grab a project and get it done. He has great leadership ability, and his integrity is above reproach." --Mike Montgomery, Head Coach, Golden State Warriors
"What you have in Barry Collier is a guy with incredible class and integrity. While I hate to see him leave the coaching profession, we need guys like him in administration. He's been very successful at a lot of different levels. This is a great deal for Butler and a great deal for all of us. He's very smart, and I think he gets it." --Tom Izzo, Head Coach, Michigan State University
"We are pleased to welcome Barry Collier back to the League where he enjoyed great success as a coach. His background as both a student-athlete and a coach at Butler will serve him well as he moves into this new role. His commitment to academics and to service, and his personal integrity make him an ideal fit at Butler. We look forward to working with him on the many challenges ahead." --Jon LeCrone, Commissioner, Horizon League
"I couldn't be happier for Barry Collier and for Butler University. I said 12 years ago that I thought Barry would make an outstanding athletic director. When you look at what he stands for, his principles and integrity coincide with everything that Butler is about." --Thad Matta, Head Coach, Ohio State University
"Barry is a high integrity guy. His word can be believed. I have a very high regard for his character. He's very bright and a very good listener. He's interested in what others have to say, and he's very good at seeing a problem and arriving at a solution." --Jim Haney, Executive Director, National Association of Basketball Coaches
"Barry is a highly-respected individual in the basketball community in Indiana and nationwide. He's currently serving on the Board of Directors of the NABC, and he's a person of sound judgement. The fact that he played the game and coached basketball at Butler is certainly a plus. He knows the university environment, he knows the city and he knows the constituents of the university. Butler is very fortunate to have him return as athletic director." --Tom Jernstedt, Executive Vice President, NCAA
"I can think of no finer representative of Butler excellence and the Butler way to do things right than Barry. He is well known, presents himself well and knows what he is doing. His ability to attract and mentor top talent has been proven and I believe would be a quality to make him a great success as A.D. He will continue to emphasize Butler values, not only within the Butler community, but in central Indiana and nationwide." --R. Mark Lawrance, Indiana Chamber of Commerce