So, what’s it like winning the 2021 NCAA® Men’s Basketball Championship, Scott Drew ’93?
“You always plan for success. You game plan to win, but once it happens, you don’t know what to expect,” the Baylor Bears’ head coach says. “That night after the game, you get back and there’s about a thousand text messages—you’re not ready for that. And then you get home and see the welcome-home parade, and it’s better than you even thought it might be.”
Drew had been building to this moment for years—18 at Baylor, 10 at Valparaiso (nine as an assistant to his father, Homer, and one as head coach), and two (1991–1993) as student manager for the Butler Men’s Basketball team, where his acumen and energy impressed everyone.
“His work ethic and servant attitude were obvious, as our managers were volunteers,” then-Coach, now-Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier ’76 says. “On top of executing his manager duties, he was a student of the game.”
“You could see that he had something extra in the tank, something special,” says Darin Archbold ’93, one of the stars of the men’s basketball team during Drew’s years. “He was one of those guys you could see that the future could be great for. And look what he’s done now.”
Drew credits his mentors.
“Everybody who’s in leadership has had mentors and people who have helped develop their leadership style,” he says. “And that’s how you organize a program, how you interact. The culture, the professionalism. Everything from how you dress to how you hold staff meetings. My dad, obviously, was a big component of that. Coach Dale Brown—my dad worked for him—helped me a lot when I first got to Baylor because he had built the program at Louisiana State University. And Coach Collier built the program at Butler. Those are three outstanding coaches who laid the foundation for their school’s success.”
He also credits his Butler experience. “There are great universities everywhere, but there’s something special about going to a family-atmosphere school like Butler or Baylor.”
Although this year’s tournament was played entirely in Indiana, and Baylor beat Wisconsin and Villanova in Hinkle Fieldhouse, Drew says COVID-19 restrictions limited him from visiting with people or exploring campus. His team didn’t even get to shoot around before the games. Still, he was glad to be back at Butler.
“It was amazing to see how the campus had expanded,” he says. “I’m so proud as an alum. Obviously, the success in basketball and what they’ve been able to do and the attention they’ve been able to draw in a positive light makes all of us Butler alums proud.”
Months after the championship game, Drew says he’ll occasionally have a moment when he thinks the celebration has finally died down. Then he’ll get a reminder that, no, it hasn’t.
“When you show up in the airport and there’s a Baylor fan so excited, and they’re still celebrating the success, it rejuvenates you and excites you,” he says. “You coach to see other people reach their goals and dreams, have success, have joy in their lives. To be able to see the people who’ve had that and have been touched by this team, that makes it all worth it.”
Photo by Trevor Brown Jr/NCAA Photos via Getty Images