Former Valpo coach looks forward to challenge
WACO, Texas -- Scott Drew knows he's taking over a messy situation at Baylor. To him, that just makes the challenge even better.
"I can't wait for the new image for Baylor to come," said the 32-year-old Drew, who leaves behind the head coaching job at Valparaiso, where he was 20-11 in his only season leading the Crusaders and won the Mid-Continent Conference regular season title.
With a summer of scandal leaving the program facing internal penalties as well as possible strong punishment from the NCAA, the school took a big step toward moving forward by hiring Drew on Friday.
His first move was to try ensuring that he'll have enough players to compete this fall. Three-fourths of the roster had begun looking into transferring and several players already have decided they will.
Drew talked with eight players Friday and said several have decided to stay. He said he'll continue to talk to others who have announced their intention to transfer but may not have completed their paperwork.
And he'll appeal to the football, baseball and track coaches for athletes to fill his roster if he has to.
"He has a lot of good things to say," said sophomore Tommy Swanson, who hasn't decided whether to return. "He's very impressive. I'm going to talk it over with my family."
Drew also said Baylor could be surprisingly competitive next season.
"These guys will play every game like it's their last," he said. "I was very impressed with the desire and work ethic they said they wanted to have toward this basketball program. I did not expect that coming in."
The optimistic Drew even said his goal is to win a national championship, something Baylor hasn't come close to doing in more than a half-century.
"It's definitely a David vs. Goliath situation," Drew said. "David did beat Goliath."
Drew replaces Dave Bliss, whose four-year tenure collapsed under the death of a player, revelations of NCAA violations and player drug use and the coach's attempted cover-up of misdeeds in the program.
Bliss, who formerly coached at Oklahoma, resigned Aug. 8 and Baylor officials organized a search committed four days later.
Drew was recommended to Baylor University President Robert Sloan by Tim Floyd, coach of the NBA's New Orleans Hornets. Floyd said Drew, whose brother, Bryce, plays for the Hornets, would be "a perfect fit."
Baylor officials flew to Indiana to meet with Scott Drew earlier this week. He agreed to take the job Thursday night and signed a deal Friday morning.
He'll also bring in new assistant coaches. He introduced one, Matt Driscoll, on Friday.
The Big 12's only private school, Baylor would not release details of Drew's contract. Houston television station KRIV, citing sources close to the school, said the deal was a six-year contract worth $2.7 million.
"We got our first choice," Sloan said. "I'm excited about the future of Baylor basketball."
Drew is one of the youngest coaches in Division I. He spent the nine previous seasons as an assistant to his father, Homer Drew, at Valparaiso.
At Valparaiso, he was known as a resourceful recruiter, having brought in many players from Europe, Africa and South America.
Drew said he didn't think it will be hard to recruit to a program that has taken a beating in negative publicity.
"We're going to take the best people, the best players, the best fit for Baylor University. In the end we'll have a good product," he said. "It's going to be done the right way."
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 conversations of Bliss have shown he asked players to lie to investigators to try to portray Dennehy as a drug dealer.
Drew said he was drawn to the challenge of rebuilding a program many said could be beyond repair.
"I'm a guy who really loves 'Rocky' movies. I watch 'Hoosiers,' " Drew said. "This is going to be a challenge for the next couple of years."
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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