Friday, August 22, 2003
Valparaiso University Director of Athletics William Steinbrecher announced that Homer Drew, the winningest coach in Valpo history, is returning as head men's basketball coach. Homer is succeeding his son Scott who resigned to become the head men's basketball coach at Baylor University. In his one season, Scott guided the Crusaders to a 20-11 record and the 2003 Mid-Continent Conference Regular Season Championship.
In coming out of coaching retirement, Homer Drew will relinquish his duties as Valparaiso University's Special Assistant to the President for University Advancement, a position he held since resigning as head coach on April 25, 2002.
"I am delighted to have Homer join our athletics family once again," Steinbrecher said. "He's already a master coach and it's a blessing to have him available to assume the leadership of our men's basketball program."
In his previous 14-year tenure, Homer Drew built a championship legacy and developed a program considered by many to be one of the best at the NCAA Division I mid-major level. A four-time Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year, Drew took over a program in 1988 that had never produced a winning record at the Division I level (1976-). Under his guidance, Valpo captured seven Mid-Con regular season titles and seven conference tournament championships. Drew put Valpo basketball on the national map by guiding the Crusaders to six NCAA Tournament appearances, including five consecutive from 1996-2000. Valpo teams won 20-or-more games eight times during his previous era. The 2001-02 team made school history, setting Valpo's single-season record for wins with 25. Drew was rewarded by being named Mid-Con Coach of the Year by his peers.
On Feb. 21, 2002, Drew became one of 19 active Division I coaches to earn his 500th career victory. A collegiate head coach for 26 seasons, Drew has compiled a career record of 505-306, a winning percentage of .623. In becoming the winningest basketball coach in Valpo history, Drew has coached the Crusaders to a 236-184 record. He previously served as the head coach at Bethel (Ind.) College from 1976-87 and at IU-South Bend during the 1987-88 season, establishing solid foundations at both schools.
The "Building a Tradition" philosophy which Drew introduced upon his arrival, reached euphoric heights in 1998 as Valpo advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, generating priceless worldwide publicity for the University and community. Drew guided the Crusaders to upsets of Mississippi and Florida State before a tough loss to Rhode Island in the Regionals ended the Cinderella run. The dramatic win over Ole Miss will forever be remembered for "The Shot" when Homer's son Bryce's buzzer-beater became a focal point of the highlights on all of the major sports networks and news shows across the nation.
Valpo was a model of consistency under Drew, winning both the Mid-Con regular season and tournament titles five straight seasons from 1994-99. In 1999-00, he led the Crusaders to their sixth consecutive Mid-Con Tournament title. After winning the Mid-Con regular season championship in 2000-01, Valpo won the league's outright title and tournament championship for the seventh time in 2001-02.
When the Crusaders captured the 1999 Mid-Con regular season and tournament championships they joined the likes of Kentucky, North Carolina State and UMass as the only schools to win both titles in at least five straight seasons. Under Drew's guidance, Valpo was one of just seven Division I schools to win 20-or-more games each year from 1993-99. Over his last five years, Drew guided Valpo to 10 wins over teams from six major conferences (Ohio State, Mississippi, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Seton Hall, Florida State, Charlotte, West Virginia and Rhode Island (twice). The 200th win was coached by Scott, against Oakland on January 27, 2001, when Homer was ill.
In 1995-96, the Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time when they earned both the Mid-Con regular season and tournament championships. Those titles duplicated the previous season's achievements when Valpo won both the Mid-Con regular season and tournament titles for the first time. This continuous success helped Drew achieve Mid-Con Coach of the Year honors three consecutive seasons (1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96).
Over his last eight seasons, Drew created a large homecourt advantage for the Crusaders as Valpo owned a 101-13 record at the Athletics-Recreation Center - an .886 winning percentage - from 1993-02.
Drew enjoyed many other moments as the Crusaders' leader. Valpo's 1992-93 and 1988-89 campaigns were highlighted by victories over Notre Dame. The 71-68 overtime upset of the Irish in 1988 was the first of Drew's many achievements at Valpo. The Crusaders also led the nation in 3-point field goal percentage in 1992-93.
Drew earned a Doctorate in educational administration from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan in 1983. A native of St. Louis, he achieved his Bachelor of Arts in physical education and social studies at William Jewell College in 1966 before completing his Master of Arts in education at Washington University in St. Louis in 1968.
He has had 15 players play professional basketball or baseball, including Bryce Drew who was a 1998 first round NBA draft choice and now is a member of the New Orleans Hornets.
In October of 2002, Homer received the Mid-Continent Conference's Commissioner's Award of Merit, the league's most prestigious honor. Drew was also honored with the prestigious Naismith Good Sportsmanship Award in 1998 by the Naismith International Basketball Foundation. Drew received distinguished recognition for his coaching career when he was inducted into the Bethel College Hall of Fame in 1998. He was also inducted into the Hall of Fame at William Jewell, where he was an outstanding player. Following Valpo's magical run to the Sweet 16 in 1998, Drew co-authored "Find A Way": Valpo's Sweet Dream, with Shawn Malayter and Rob Rains. In May of 2001, Drew gave the commencement address at Valparaiso University's graduation ceremonies.
An active civic speaker who has created numerous community activities for his teams, Drew was presented in 1999 with the Lumen Christi Medal, the University's highest honor, in recognition of a lay person's distinguished service to church and society. By his own admission, one of Drew's best achievements is that he has sent over 50 players into either the teaching and/or coaching professions.