Scott Drew has brought Baylor from the brink
By Stan Awtrey Post-Tribune correspondent March 24, 2012 11:34PM
Updated: April 26, 2012 8:28AM
Atlanta — Scott Drew could have spent his entire coaching career at Valparaiso. The Baylor Bears are glad he didn’t.
After he graduated from Butler, Drew joined his dad, Homer, as an assistant coach in 1993 and was elevated to associate head coach in 2001-02. A year later, Homer stepped down as head coach and Scott stepped up. He compiled a 20-11 record, winning the Mid-Continent Conference regular season title and earning a spot in the NIT.
Then he received a phone call that changed his life. It was representatives of Baylor on the other line and they wanted him to move to Waco and rebuild the program that had been decimated by transfers and scandals.
Drew somehow looked past the problems and limitations and agreed to make the move.
“I thought there was a chance to do some things here,” he said. “This place had a lot of things going for it.”
Drew, a religious man, saw the tenets of Baylor’s Christian philosophy as a positive. He saw it as a place to grow leaders and to build a model program.
It took him a while — Baylor was 21-53 in his first three seasons — but Drew’s ability to recruit strong players began to pay off. The Bears went 15-16 in 2006-07 and broke through the next season.
“The only thing we knew was the harder we worked the quicker things would happen,” Drew said. “Really, coaching is pretty simple. You bring in good players that are good people, good students, represent the school the right way. They recruit other good athletes to come in and they make you look like a good coach.”
Drew is 156-123 in his nine seasons at Baylor. This year Baylor is 30-7; it’s the most victories in the history of a program that’s been playing since 1907. They meet No. 1-ranked Kentucky, a program they’re 0-6 against, in the Elite Eight game. A win would put the Bears in the Final Four for the first time since 1950, where there were only eight teams in the tournament.
“I think Scott’s done a terrific job with that team,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari. “They’re playing how they have to play to have success.”
Drew’s parents attended the South Regional semifinal on Friday night. Both were diagnosed with cancer in 2011.
“It’s the first game they’ve been able to make this year,” Scott Drew said. “Both of them had a long year and a tough year, but it meant a lot having them here. I know it was an extra-long trip for my mom. She was worn out, but she got down here.”