Drew finds success as player, coach

Friday, November 25, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 48
By Tom Wood

Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew drives around Rhode Island’s Preston Murphy during their semifinal game in the NCAA Midwest Regional at the Kiel Center in St. Louis in 1998. Drew was high scorer in that game with 18 points, which Valparaiso lost.

-- Ap Photo/Cliff Schiappa

Bryce Homer Drew, 42, compiled a 124-49 overall record in a five-year coaching stint at Valparaiso University. In 2016, he led the Crusaders to a 30-7 overall record, the most wins in program history, and a berth in the NIT Finals.

His teams averaged 25 wins a season, won four regular season championships, and made four postseason appearances, two in the NCAA Tournament and two in the NIT, with the Crusaders.

He was a three-time Horizon League Coach of the Year and two-time NABC District 12 Coach of the Year at Valparaiso.

In high school, Drew earned Indiana Mr. Basketball honors and was named Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year in 1994. At Valpo, playing for his father Homer, Bryce began his career by garnering Mid-Continent Conference Newcomer of the Year and Mid-Con Tournament MVP honors as a freshman.

Drew led the Crusaders to four Mid-Continent Conference regular season championships, four tournament titles and three trips to the NCAA Tournament.

He set numerous school records, notably in points (2,142), three-point field goals (364) and assists (626). He etched his name into the American consciousness in 1998 when he hit “The Shot” in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to beat Ole Miss.

The play, in which Drew caught a tip pass from teammate Bill Jenkins off a full-court feed from Jamie Sykes, won him an ESPY award and gave Valparaiso its first NCAA Tournament win in school history, propelling the Crusaders to the Sweet Sixteen.

Drew also excelled internationally, playing for the gold-medal winning Team USA at the World University Games in 1997.

Following his collegiate career, Drew again made school history when the Houston Rockets drafted him with the 16th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, the first time a Crusader had been chosen in the first round.

His NBA career lasted six seasons with the Rockets, Chicago Bulls, and Charlotte and New Orleans Hornets.

Drew graduated from Valparaiso in 1998 with a degree in sports management and a minor in business.

He and his wife Tara have one son, Bryson, age 2.