Drew family legacy goes beyond success on the basketball court as the coaches live out their faith

The Drew family is one of the most successful in NCAA basketball history, and yet the coaches all agree on a simple purpose: glorifying God and developing godly men.

Homer Drew and his sons,…

The Drew family is one of the most successful in NCAA basketball history, and yet the coaches all agree on a simple purpose: glorifying God and developing godly men.

Homer Drew and his sons, Scott and Bryce, have put together over 1300 coaching wins combined, making them one of the winningest families in NCAA history. Homer coached for 41 years, his longest stint at Valparaiso University from 1988-2011. In 1998, Homer coached the 13th-seeded Crusaders to their first sweet 16 after his son Bryce hit one of the most iconic buzzer beaters in NCAA tournament history in the first round.

Bryce went on to play in the NBA for six years but wasn’t sure what the future held when his playing days came to an end. Joining the Valparaiso coaching staff in 2005 as an assistant, he became head coach in 2011. Bryce went on to coach Vanderbilt for 3 years before landing in his current role as head coach of Grand Canyon University, where in 2021 he took the Antelopes to the first NCAA Tournament in team history. 

Older brother Scott also started his coaching career as an assistant at Valparaiso. He took over for his Father following a brief retirement in 2002, coaching for one season before Baylor University came calling. Scott was tasked with taking over a Baylor program in shambles in 2003 after numerous scandals, including the murder of a player by his own teammate. Drew’s turnaround of the Baylor program is widely considered one of the greatest comebacks in the history of college sports. 

Before Scott, the Bears had been to just one NCAA tournament since 1950. Since 2008, He’s taken the Baylor program to 10 appearances, including a Big 12 Championship and National Championship in 2021 as part of a 28-2 season. Drew is currently the winningest coach in Baylor’s history. 

In 2016, NCAA.com named the Drew family one of “5 of the greatest families in hoops history.” All three coaches have coached at a Christian University in their career. 

“Just one of the greatest, coolest families out there. I don’t know of any father or son-son lineage that seems to be able to do what they have done. … They’re fun, positive people to be around,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of the Drew family during this year’s NCAA tournament. 

Despite all the success the family has enjoyed, the three men agree that glorifying God remains the top priority. The trio recently appeared on Sports Spectrum’s “Get in the Game” podcast to reflect on how they’ve lived out their faith during their coaching careers. 

Homer, who continually leveraged his platform into a vehicle for growing the faith of others, explained that his primary mission was to translate God’s love to his players. Homer passed that legacy to both sons, who echoed similar sentiments during the interview. 

“We love to help young men develop into godly men and great husbands and hopefully win a few championships along the way,” Bryce said of his coaching career. 

When asked what the mark of a good coach is, Bryce made it clear that the priority remains coaching first for an audience of one, referring to God. 

“It probably matters who your audience is and who you’re trying to impress or who you’re coaching for, but I think for all three of us it’s really easy – we want to do things as what’s right before the Lord. We’re so blessed with this platform to be able to lead young men and lead great universities,” Bryce said. 

He added that while each coach in the family has different tendencies and idiosyncrasies in how they run their programs, the blueprint has always been and always will be about Jesus Christ. 

Scott explained that his program operates under a culture of JOY – Jesus, others, yourself.  

“We’re going to all be in heaven, and we want hopefully as many players and people we’ve interacted with to be up there, and anyone that’s not, that’ll be the real loss,” Scott said.  

Scott also reflected on the experience of leading former players to the Lord, particularly Brady Heslip. Heslip transferred to Baylor from Boston College, a move the former Bear believes was part of God’s plan for His life.  

“Coach Drew just always talked about winning in life,” Heslip said. “And he always tells us that it doesn’t matter if we didn’t win a single game; the way we all win in life is accepting Jesus in our lives and knowing we will go to heaven so we will spend eternity together in heaven.” Heslip knew he wanted to accept Christ because of Drew’s leadership. 

“With all three (coaches) … the most important thing wouldn’t be that we were geniuses at the X’s and O’s or that we worked really hard. I think it would be that ‘they were godly examples, they cared about instilling Christ in us, they were servants that tried to help us, and they loved us,’” Scott said regarding how the family wanted to be remembered when they’re gone.