Butler coach LaVall Jordan has hired the first two members of his initial men’s basketball staff, and they are two individuals incredibly familiar to Bulldog fans.
Emerson Kampen will assume one of the three assistant coach positions on staff, while Brandon Crone will serve as the coordinator of basketball operations. Both Kampen and Crone were part of Butler’s most recent coaching staff.
“Emerson and Brandon have represented Butler extremely well on the court and on the sidelines, and I’m excited to begin my staff with two true Bulldogs,” said Jordan, who was hired last week as the 24th head coach in Butler program history. “They have a familiarity with our current group of guys and the BIG EAST. Most importantly, they exemplify The Butler Way and want to be part of continuing the momentum in this program.”
Over the past three seasons, Kampen and Crone have helped the Bulldogs to a 70-31 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance in each season. The 2016-17 team posted a 25-9 record, a second-place finish in the BIG EAST, and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2011. The BIG EAST finish was Butler’s best since joining the conference prior to the 2013-14 season.
Kampen, a 2013 Butler graduate and former Butler basketball player, served the Butler staff in the role of basketball analyst for the past two seasons. Kampen began the 2014-15 season as a graduate assistant for the Bulldogs. He stepped in to fill an assistant coach position when Chris Holtmann was elevated to head coach just prior to the start of the season.
“Emerson has a high basketball IQ and played a significant role in strategy over the past few years in his analyst role,” said Jordan. “In his time recruiting for Butler during the 2014-15 season, he developed strong relationships with Kamar Baldwin, Kethan Savage and Jordan Gathers, paving the way for them to choose Butler. Our program will see the benefits of his increased responsibilities.”
He began his coaching career during the 2013-14 season as a graduate assistant, handling a variety of administrative and on-court duties on then Coach Brandon Miller’s staff.
Kampen was a four-year letterwinner and five-year team member with the Bulldogs, 2008-13. He played on Butler’s two Final Four teams, and was a senior on the Bulldogs’ 2012-13 team, which posted a 27-9 record and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. During his five seasons at Butler, the Bulldogs compiled a 136-45 record and made five straight postseason tournament appearances.
Crone, a four-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs, begins his fourth season on the Butler staff as Coordinator of Basketball Operations. He handles a variety of organizational and administrative duties for the Bulldogs, including team travel and scheduling.
“I have seen first-hand what Brandon means to our program as both a player and an administrator,” said Jordan, who served as a member of the Butler coaching staff during all four of Crone’s seasons in a Butler jersey. “Brandon has been a huge help during this transition and I know he will continue to be a big part of our staff and our success in this role.”
Crone enjoyed a successful playing career at Butler, helping the Bulldogs to 78 victories and two postseason tournament berths over his four seasons. He was named Butler’s Most Valuable Player in 2006-07, after leading the Bulldogs to a 29-7 record and a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16.
After graduating from Butler, Crone went on to play professional basketball for three seasons in Europe. He returned to the U.S. in 2010 and accepted a position as assistant basketball coach at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis, where he helped lead the Panthers to the 2011 Indiana Class 2A state championship. He went on to serve as an assistant coach for three seasons at Nova Southeastern, an NCAA Division II school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before joining the Butler staff.
Jordan has two assistant coaching positions and the basketball analyst spot (most recently held by Kampen) to fill.