This Day in Baylor History: Baylor Hires Scott Drew

Mike Stobe

Ten years ago today, coming off one of the worst scandals in the history of college athletics and with little hope that things could get better any time soon, Baylor University hired the young, energetic head coach of Valparaiso University.

I can't remember exactly when move-in day was in 2003, though you'd think I could. That was the day I began what would be four of the greatest years of my life. I know it was around this time, and I vaguely remember hearing about Baylor's hire of Scott Drew, then the head coach of Valparaiso University, where he'd been an assistant for very nearly a decade previously. I knew almost nothing about Drew and didn't really care to, considering I had much "bigger" things on my mind at the time like how to meet every freshman girl I possibly could in the shortest amount of time. I certainly couldn't have seen coming the tremendous change in the school I'd come to love. I doubt anyone could.

In the ten years since Baylor hired Scott Drew away from his family's legacy at Valpo, so much has changed for the program he inherited, mired as it was in the depths of one of the worst scandals ever and hemorrhaging scholarship players, it's almost unbelievable. If you think about it in comparison to the football team, as celebrated as that program has become under Art Briles, they still aspire to do what our basketball team has done, with two Elite 8s in the last 4 years, a NIT Championship in 2013, and the general resurrection of a program all but left for dead. By everyone.

Better basketball minds can tell you more specifically how he did it; all I can say is that he never stopped believing it could be done. I've heard various stories about how he sold our administration on hiring him with relentless positivity and boundless ambition. It's one thing to say those things while searching for a job. It's another to carry them over into the job itself, especially after this many years. And despite what people say about his recruiting tactics, the slanderous accusations resulting therefrom, the ire he's drawn from other coaches, and everything else, one thing is perfectly clear: without Scott Drew's confidence that Baylor could be more than it had become combined with his relentless drive to make that confidence reality, we would not be where we are today. What was a source of unending shame, a stain on the soul of the University, has become a source of pride. A laughingstock has become a power. I never would have seen that coming a decade ago.

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