URGENT

Updated: August 21, 2003, 11:37 PM ET

WACO, Texas -- Scott Drew is leaving Valparaiso to take over the challenge of repairing a Baylor basketball team torn apart by the death of a player, the shame-filled resignation of coach Dave Bliss, a string of transfers and potentially strong NCAA violations.

Valparaiso player Mike Oppland told The Associated Press that Homer Drew called his family to tell them Scott Drew was going to Baylor and he was coming out of retirement to take his place.

"I was surprised (about Scott), but I guess I understand why he did it," said Oppland, who will be a sophomore this season. "When Homer retired or whatever, he said he was done with basketball. I guess, he figures he's the best man to take over the program."

Scott Drew is expected to be announced at a Baylor news conference Friday.

Citing sources close to Baylor, Houston television station KRIV reported Thursday night that Drew had reached an agreement in principle on a six-year deal.

Baylor president Robert Sloan wouldn't comment. "We do not have a deal yet, but we're working closely" with the search committee to hire someone soon, he said at an afternoon news conference.

Baylor spokesman Larry Brumley repeatedly said that no new coach had been selected, even after being told by the AP of Oppland's comments.

Repeated calls to regents and search committee members were not returned.

Drew has only one year of head coaching experience, going 20-11 and reaching the NIT. He spent the nine previous seasons as an assistant to his father at Valparaiso. Their most memorable season was 1998, when they reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament with a team led by his brother, Bryce, who hit a miracle shot to beat Mississippi in the opening round that year.

At 32, Scott Drew is one of the youngest coaches in Division I. As an assistant to his father, he was known as a resourceful recruiter, having brought in many players from Europe, Africa and South America.

"These days, Baylor was lucky to get a coach as good as Drew," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Bliss and athletic director Tom Stanton resigned Aug. 8, the same day that Sloan said the school had placed itself on a two-year probation.

Baylor launched an internal inquiry in July into possible NCAA violations, after allegations surfaced of improper payments to players following Patrick Dennehy's disappearance. Dennehy was found shot to death July 25, and former Baylor player Carlton Dotson remains in a Maryland jail awaiting extradition to Texas to face charges in the death.

The inquiry found that Bliss was directly involved in paying tuition costs and other expenses for Dennehy and another player. It also found that failed drug tests by players weren't properly reported.

Since then, secretly recorded taped conversations of Bliss have shown he asked players to lie to investigators to try to portray Dennehy as a drug dealer.

As part of its self-imposed penalty, Baylor won't play in any postseason tournaments next season, including the Big 12 tournament. The school also offered every player to be released from their scholarships, allowing them to transfer to other schools.

Junior center Lawrence Roberts, the team's leading scorer and rebounder last season, transferred to Mississippi State. Junior guard Kenny Taylor said he is transferring to Texas, and incoming freshman center Tyrone Nelson instead enrolled at Prairie View A&M.

Junior guard John Lucas III has also asked for his release, and the second-leading scorer has said he won't return. Senior forward R.T. Guinn, sophomore forward Tommy Swanson and junior college transfer Harvey Thomas also asked for their releases.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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