When people talk about a coach building a program into a powerhouse, they’re talking about coaches like Scott Drew. Back in August of 2003, Drew took over a Baylor Bears program that was buried in scandal.
So what did Drew do? He began the grind.
He didn’t have a double-digit win season in his first three years, going 21-53 overall. They improved to 15-16 in 2006-07. Then in 2007-08, things finally started to take off: a 21-11 record, a top-25 appearance and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. They were the last team to be announced to get in.
Since then, Drew hasn’t had a losing season. His teams have made tournament appearance after tournament appearance, getting to the Elite Eight, Final Four and after this year, finally winning a national title.
It’s an incredible story that OutKick founder Clay Travis wanted to know more about. On Tuesday morning, Clay brought Drew on his radio show, OutKick the Coverage, to discuss Baylor’s recent championship.
His first question: Is it still surreal to be called a national champion?
“Well, it’s only been about two weeks, but I could get used to this,” Drew responded. “So yeah, I like hearing that. It’s a great honor and recognition for the players and what they were able to achieve. And as a coach, it’s kind of like a parent on Christmas Day when you see your kids opening up a present, everybody’s excited and you’re happy.”
To see how far this program has come is nothing short of incredible. It made just one NCAA Tournament appearance prior to Drew’s arrival in Waco, and now they’re not only expected to get into the tournament, but to make a run as well.
Clay wanted to know how that transition happened. What was going through Drew’s mind during the four-straight losing seasons to begin his coaching career with the Bears? Did he ever think things just weren’t going to work out there?
“Great question. I can equate this to anyone that’s opened a new business or restaurant, and you are so busy in the beginning doing what you’re doing,” Drew replied. “You don’t have time to get too frustrated or upset because you’re moving on to the next issue or the next problem.
“So with us, we get to campus and we only have between five and seven scholarship players throughout the year because academically, we had some guys out at different times. So the first thing we had to do was go all over campus and try to find at least a half a team of walk-ons that can fill our roster.”
Drew then went on to tell a funny story about holding walk-on try outs, thinking they’d found some impressive talents only to discover that some of the guys trying out didn’t realize they had to go to Baylor to be on the team. Of course, that left the normal walk-on talent, and things were rough.
It was fantastic to hear him go through what those first few years were like, and how everything transpired, including losing the non-conference portion of the schedule in 2005-06 as punishment for the scandal prior to Drew’s arrival.
It’s been a heck of a ride for anyone involved with the Bears program: Tournament appearances, a couple of Elite Eight spots and now a national title.
From start to finish, this was a fantastic interview that gives us a peek at the ups and downs of the program and some of the behind-the-scenes events that led to their victory over Gonzaga a few weeks ago. It is absolutely worth a listen.
The podcast should be up shortly on OutKick the Coverage.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.