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DePauw's Role in Life of NBA's Brad Stevens '99 Noted in Sports Illustrated Feature

August 23, 2013

Brad Stevens McD 2010 2A lengthy feature on Brad Stevens, new head coach of the Boston Celtics and 1999 DePauw graduate, appears in the current (August 26) issue of Sports Illustrated. The piece by Tim Layden includes a number of references to Bill Fenlon, who coached Stevens at DePauw, and his classmate and teammate Josh Burch '99, as well as his wife and agent, Tracy (Wilhelmy) Stevens '99. The magazine also utilizes a photo of Stevens from his playing days with the Tigers. (at right: Stevens speaking at DePauw on April 13, 2010)

"Bill Fenlon has been the coach at DePauw, a Division III school in Greencastle, Ind., for 21 seasons, including the four -- from 1995 through '99 -- when Stevens was a guard," Layden writes. "They remain close friends, so it wasn't surprising that as Fenlon traveled this summer's AAU circuit looking for players, he was routinely approached by peers incredulous that Stevens had made the leap from Hinkle to the Garden. "I've seen two or three hundred coaches this summer," says Fenlon, 56, "and I'm old enough that I know a lot of them. Everybody wanted to talk about Brad. I know when I heard it, it was surreal."

Brad Stevens head shot 199899bThe article notes that Stevens set school records that still stand at Indiana's Zionsville High School, but as he developed as a college player his playing time decreased. Layden reports, "In Stevens' senior year he started several early games, but Fenlon had recruited a strong freshman class and Stevens' minutes declined as the year played out. He responded by beating the underclassmen in scrimmages. After one such episode, Fenlon called Stevens and Burch into his office and explained to them that their role wasn't to defeat the young starters but rather to make them better. It was a watershed moment for Stevens. 'In team sports you have to overcome human nature to a degree,' says Fenlon. 'Anybody would struggle with what Brad struggled with. He was being asked to lead in a different way than he ever had previously. And, eventually, he got really good at it.' "

Sports Illustrated notes, "The Stevens legend holds that he left DePauw with an economics degree and took a $44,000-per-year job as a marketing associate with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, based in Indianapolis, and then a year later suddenly left for an unpaid gig as a graduate manager for the Butler basketball program, the bottom rung of the college coaching ladder. Those basics are true, but his career shift wasn't sudden. The coaching seeds had been planted during that transformative senior year at DePauw; even while working at Lilly, he volunteered at a high school and coached an AAU team. 'He was talking about basketball that entire year,' says Tracy, who met Stevens at DePauw."

You'll find the complete article here or in the magazine, on newsstands now. Visit SI online.

A Management Fellow at DePauw, Brad Stevens earned all conference and academic all conference honors all four years as an undergraduate. He and Fenlon were featured in a half-hour program on FOX Sports Midwest in June 2010.

"There is a lot to be said for staying the course, being creative with your mind, but more importantly, once you decide something is right for you, jumping in with two feet and really trying to chase that without looking back," Stevens told DePauw Management Fellows and other students during a 2010 Robert C. McDermond Lecture, which took place eight days after he and Butler took Duke University to the wire in the NCAA Division I national championship game.

Stevens announced he was leaving Butler for the Celtics on July 3 and was formally introduced at a Boston news conference two days later.

Learn more in this recent summary.

Source: Sports Illustrated

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