Bryce Drew is leaving one VU for another, as long time Valparaiso fixture is headed to Vanderbilt. Drew, a Valpo-alum who had been the Crusaders’ head coach since 2011, is the son of former Valparaiso head coach Homer Drew. The elder Drew led the team from 1988-2002 and 2003-2011, with the 2002-03 season being under the direction of Bryce’s older brother (and current Baylor head coach), Scott Drew. The 2016-17 season will mark the first since 1988 in which Valpo’s head coach is not a Drew.
Vanderbilt had been looking for a replacement for Kevin Stallings, who left for Pittsburgh after 17 seasons in Nashville. Vanderbilt needed to make a splash to keep up with the rest of the SEC, as several high-profile coaches have come into the league in the past year. Drew has been a buzzy name for the past few years but never left his alma mater. Drew’s connection to the city of Valparaiso, Indiana stretches all the way back to his youth, as he starred at Valparaiso High School before playing for his dad at VU.
Drew brings tournament experience and a track-record of success to Nashville. His Crusaders made 2 NCAA Tournament appearances, just missing out in 2016 before making a run to the NIT Championship game. No mid-major coach has more wins in the past two seasons than Drew’s 58. It will be interesting to see if this level of success will follow Drew to Nashville, as this will be his first job outside of Valparaiso his playing career ended in 2005.
Bryce became a college basketball folk hero in 1998 when he hit a game-winner over Ole Miss in the NCAA Tournament, the video of which is included in every March Madness montage produced since. He was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Bulls in 1998 and spent six seasons in the NBA with three teams before finishing his career abroad.