North Western Christian University was the name when the school opened on November 1, 1855, at what is now 13th and College, with no president, 2 professors, and 20 students. In 1875, the university moved to a 25 acre campus in Irvington. It was there that the school was renamed Butler University "in recognition of Ovid Butler's inspirational vision, determined leadership, and financial support." In 1922, they purchased Fairview Park, and in 1928, moved their campus to the current Fairview location. The campus consists of 31 buildings covering an area of 290 acres (1.2 km²).
Butler University's athletic teams, known as the Bulldogs, compete in the NCAA Division I Horizon League. Butler's basketball arena, Hinkle Fieldhouse, was the largest basketball arena in the US for several decades. It is considered a Hoosier Hysteria icon: from its opening in 1928 until 1971, it was the site of the final rounds of the Indiana state high school basketball tournament and was the site for the championship game in the movie "Hoosiers". Butler holds two national championships in men's basketball; one from 1924, and one from 1929.
In 1954, Butler hosted the historic final when Milan High School (enrollment 161) defeated Muncie High School [now Muncie Central] (enrollment over 1,600) to win the state title. The state final depicted in the 1986 movie Hoosiers, loosely based on the Milan Miracle story, was shot in Hinkle Fieldhouse. A renovation of the Butler Bowl (football stadium) is now finished and includes field turf, which allows the Butler Bowl to host football, soccer, and other events.
The 2006-2007 men's Butler basketball team won the NIT Season Tip-Off, which in part helped them to be named one of the top 12 underdog sports stories of 2006 by ESPN. For the third time in six years, the Bulldogs won their first ten games. Butler finished the regular season ranked No. 19 in both the latest ESPN/USA Today Coaches and AP Top 25 Polls. The Butler program has traditionally been one of the best of the so-called "mid-major" basketball programs over the last decade, having won at least 20 games and reached postseason play eight of the last ten seasons, including five NCAA Tournaments. The now-unique style of team play that many have said harkens back to the Hoosier glory days, as well as being called the way the game should be played, has been dubbed "The Butler Way" by the Bulldog program. During the 06-07 season, Butler junior guard AJ Graves was named a Wooden Award National Player of the Year finalist in men's college basketball, while Head Coach Todd Lickliter was also awarded the 2006-07 mid-season Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year and the National Association of Basketball Coaches National Coach of the Year honors.
In the 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament Butler earned a 5th seed, the highest seed in the school's history. It's previous highest seed was 10th in 2001. Butler was ranked in the AP Top 25 throughout the 2006-2007 season, and as high as No. 9, another school record. In the first round of the Midwest Regional, Butler defeated 12th seeded Old Dominion University 57-46. In round two of the Midwest Regional, Butler defeated the 4th seeded Maryland by a score of 62 to 59, earning a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in St. Louis, MO to play #1 seed University of Florida. This marked the second time in five years and the third time in the school's history that Butler has reached the Sweet Sixteen.
Butler reached the Sweet Sixteen as a No. 12 seed in the 2003 NCAA Tournament by defeating No. 5 Mississippi State and No. 4 Louisville, becoming that year's Cinderella. Butler also defeated Wake Forest, 79-63, in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed, while their heartbreaking 69-68 overtime loss to eventual national runner-up Florida in the 2000 tournament as a No. 12 seed has seen regular rotation on TV over the years as an ESPN "Classic." Butler's exclusion as a 25-5 team from the 2002 tournament was also considered by many as the biggest NCAA selection "snub" in several years.
Of note, Butler has the best winning percentage and most wins of all D-I men's basketball programs in the state of Indiana over the last decade (21.6 wins per year through 2006), while having won the last six meetings with in-state rival Notre Dame and two of the last four against Indiana University. Butler defeated both Notre Dame and Indiana during the 2006-07 regular season, while also defeating in-state rival Purdue to move to 2-0 against the Boilermakers this decade. Butler has also been the defending champion of the Hoosier Classic men's basketball tournament since the 2001-02 season, and has advanced to postseason play eight of the last ten years (5 NCAA's, 3 NIT's). Butler has been to six NCAA Tournaments since 1997.
Butler also has a strong history in soccer. The Bulldogs reached the NCAA Tournaments round of 16 in the sport in both 1995 and 1998. Butler has won the Horizon League (formerly MCC) tournament title in 1995, 1997, 1998, and 2001. The 1998 squad enjoyed national rankings as high as No. 8 in the country.
In 2000, the Butler University Hockey Team won the American Collegiate Hockey Association's Division III National Championship, beating National Runner-Up Georgia Tech. The tournament was hosted by the US Naval Academy.
Some of Butler's most notable athletic accomplishments have come in Cross Country. Butler has won nine straight Horizon League Championships in Men's Cross Country and five straight Women's Championships. The Men's team has placed as high as 4th in the nation in recent years, earning a team trophy at the NCAA Division I championships in 2004. Both teams have frequently qualified for nationals in recent years, placing individuals as high as 3rd (Mark Tucker, 2003). All-Americans from the Butler Cross Country Team include Julius Mwangi, Justin Young, Fraser Thompson (A Rhodes Scholar), Mark Tucker, and Olly Laws. Coach Joe Franklin was named NCAA Division I Coach of the Year for leading the Bulldogs to their 2004 4th place finish.
Butler University Gets Personal with PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions: Legacy System: 'By Moving Business Processes to the Web, We've Removed Barriers to Serving Our Students.'
Oct 01, 2004; Moving student transactions online and establishing an information hub for the campus--all the while increasing its personal...
Butler University Gets Personal with PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions: 'By Moving Business Processes to the Web, We've Removed Barriers to Serving Our Students.'
Dec 01, 2004; Moving student transactions online and establishing an information hub for the campus--all the while increasing its personal...