Baylor to name Scott Drew new basketball coach

Updated: August 22, 2003, 4:29 PM ET

WACO, Texas - Even in the wake of alleged murder, cover-ups and a mass exodus, Baylor found a basketball coach that thinks he can turn things around.

With the fallout from the scandal-filled tenure of Dave Bliss still being sorted out, Baylor named Valparaiso's Scott Drew its new coach Friday, or what school president Robert Sloan Jr. called a "great day in the history of the university."

Baylor introduced Drew at an afternoon news conference from the floor of the Ferrell Center. Drew was accompanied by his family, including his more popular brother, Bryce.

"We got our first choice for coach," Sloan said. "He is a man of great integrity and a proven winner on the court and in life."

Scott Drew, a 32-year-old who led Valparaiso to the NIT in his first season as a head coach, could end up being the most popular person in Waco, especially if his optimism and enthusiasm translate on the court.

"America loves the underdog," he said. "This is definitely a David vs. Goliath situation, and it might take some time, but our staff will have the work ethic, integrity and commitment necessary to get this program going in the right direction."

The program has been going in one direction this summer - down.

Bliss resigned August 8 after former player Carlton Dotson was charged with murder in the death of former teammate and roommate Patrick Dennehy.

It later was revealed that Bliss attempted to orchestrate a cover-up within the basketball program to portray Dennehy as a drug dealer in an effort to distance the coach from an investigation surrounding illegal tuition payments to Dennehy.

Another player, R.T. Guinn, alleges that Bliss instructed him to lie to investigators.

"What happened is very sad and tragic, but at the same time you look at it and say, 'Is this what Waco is all about and what Baylor is all about?'" Drew said. "I think Baylor has a lot more and Waco has a lot more to offer than what is shown so far."

Since Baylor banned itself from the postseason over the next two years and the NCAA granted an exemption to the rule calling for transfers to sit out a season, three players have switched schools.

Preseason Wooden Award candidate Lawrence Roberts went to Mississippi State and Kenny Taylor has said he will go to Texas. But Drew was pleasantly surprised with the reception he received from the remaining players Friday.

"Words cannot describe the kind of people they are," Drew said. "I can't wait for the new image that is going to come from Baylor with the people that I have met here."

Drew spent nine years as an assistant under his father, Homer, at Valparaiso. The Crusaders burst on the scene in 1998 on a last-second game-winning shot by Bryce Drew that beat Mississippi and sent them to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

Later Friday, Homer Drew came out retirement to take over at Valparaiso again.

Scott Drew has become accustomed to winning and he doesn't expect that to change. He thinks the Baylor program is in a perfect situation, mostly because of the people of Waco and the school's resources.

"At Baylor University, we came to win games in the NCAA Tournament," he said. "We came with the chance to win a natinal championship at Baylor Univerity and I think we have the family to do it now."

Drew's biggest problem might be finding enough players, especially if others decide to transfer in the face of a two-year probationary period. Drew said that could be an allure to recruits.

"Well, we have a lot of playing time," he joked.

Drew said he would figure out who was staying and who was going before filling out a roster. He'd like to meet with other Baylor coaches from various sports, or maybe just pick fans out of the stands.

"The first thing we'll do is see who's going to stay," he said. "It should be interesting."

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