In just one of the many perks of leading his Cinderella-story Butler Bulldogs to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament, coach Brad Stevens appeared via satellite on Tuesday night’s episode of the Late Show With David Letterman.
Sure, there was plenty of the normal back and forth between the comedy legend and his guest, but Letterman, a native of Indianapolis, the home of Butler, had a rooting interest in talking to Stevens.
After the 33-year-old coach said that his team is still “licking its wounds” following its 61-59 loss to Duke on Monday night, Letterman came to the coach’s defense.
“I’ve been talking to my basketball people all day and you have nothing to apologize about and nothing to be ashamed about. You took it to those goons and, my God, what a tremendous game.”
Letterman also asked why Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said — after his team’s Final Four loss to Butler — that Duke should handle Stevens and the Bulldogs pretty easily in the NCAA final. “Why would he do something stupid like that?” Letterman asked, obviously doing his best to rile up the young coach.
But Stevens remained positive, saying that Izzo “knows a lot more than I do.”
“You’re just not going to take my bait, are you?” Letterman responded jokingly.
“I’m too young to take your bait,” quipped a smiling Stevens.
Letterman laughed, suggesting that Izzo “is a great coach and maybe he knows more than you do, but he also took the early bus home, so there.”
Shortly thereafter, Letterman made Stevens a lucrative offer to lure him to his alma mater.
“I’ll give you a year of my pay if you take the coaching position at Ball State,” said Letterman, who earns a reported $31 million a year from CBS.
“You know what,” Stevens quickly replied, “they have an outstanding coach and a terrific person up there in Billy Taylor. He’s going to get it done up there.”
The 62-year-old Letterman also poked fun at Stevens’ youthful appearance.
“When I first saw you,” the host joked, “I said to myself they’ve got a guy who signed up to play basketball at Butler, and the guy said, ‘Yeah, I’ll play for Butler if my younger brother can coach.'”
“I’ve gotten a little bit of that recently,” Stevens said with a smile.
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