USA Today

Coaching Candidate Profile: Bryce Drew

Vanderbilt thought enough of Indiana native Bryce Drew to snag him from his alma mater last year. Drew rewarded the move with an NCAA tournament bid.

Bryce Drew has had a pretty quick run to a high major coaching job, taking the Vanderbilt job last March after a surprising move by Kevin Stallings to Pittsburgh.

It was good timing for Drew to leave his alma mater of Valparaiso after six seasons as the head coach. The Crusaders were coming off their biggest season in history. The 2015-16 campaign saw Valparaiso win a school record 30 games and advance all the way to the NIT championship game

That was following a 28-6 season the year before and Valpo only lost five conference games over his final two seasons,

Valparaiso was more than his alma mater, it's the program that Bryce Drew grew up around. His father Homer Drew was head coach at the school for 22 seasons.

It was Bryce who gave the school its brightest moment in the 1998 NCAA tournament against Ole Miss. That' when he caught a long inbounds pass in the final seconds, turned a hit a buzzer beating 3-pointer in a  70-69 thriller. In the second round he had 22 points in an overtime win over Florida State, giving Valparaiso its one and only Sweet Sixteen appearance.

Here's the detail on Drew's teams in terms of offensive and defensive efficiency::

Year Team Offensive
Efficiency
Defensive
Efficiency
Other
Notable
Record
2011-12 Valparaiso 117 176 21st FT rt 22-12
2012-13 Valparaiso 45 111 5th eFG% 26-8
2013-14 Valparaiso 194 144 44th in def eFG% 18-16
2014-15 Valparaiso 111 45 30th in def eFG% 28-6
2015-16 Valparaiso 124 8 29th in OR% 30-7
2016-17 Vanderbilt 47 40 11th in FT% 19-16
AVG/TOT 106 87 ---- 143-65

Those numbers show how much better defensively his recent teams have performed versus his first three years as a head coach.

His recent teams, both at Valpo and Vandy, have been slower tempo squads. Not Tony Bennett like but all of his last four teams have been slower than No. 200 in tempo.

Here is his full coaching record including conference results:

Year Team W/L W/L % Conf W/L % Postseason
2011-12 Valparaiso 22-12 .647 14-4 .778 NIT R32
2012-13 Valparaiso 26-8 .765 13-3 .813 NCAA R64
2013-14 Valparaiso 18-16 .529 9-7 .563 CollegeInsider R32
2014-15 Valparaiso 28-6 .824 13-3 .813 NCAA R64
2015-16 Valparaiso 30-7 .811 16-2 .889 NIT Runner-up
2016-17 Vanderbilt 19-16 .543 10-8 .556 NCAA R64
TOTAL ---- 143-65 .688 75-27 .735 -----

Notables

A few months after his big NCAA tournament, Drew was selected by Houston with the 16th pick in the first round of the 1998 NBA draft. Drew played two years with the Rockets, one season with the Chicago Bulls and then after three seasons with the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets, he was waived in 2004. After a year overseas in Spain he gave up playing to join his father's staff in 2005.

After one season as an assistant he was promoted to associate head coach and held that position for five years before taking over for Homer after the 2010-11 season.

Bryce's older brother Scott Drew has been a successful coach at Baylor for 14 seasons. He spent 10 years under Homer at Valparaiso.

Vanderbilt had the most losses among the at-large selections for this year's NCAA tournament. The Crusaders can thank three wins over a very good Florida team for helping them earn the berth.

Why he might not come

Drew might feel it's too early to leave Vanderbilt after just one season. That job pays him multiples of what he was earning at Valparaiso. Since Vandy is a private school we don't have his contract details, but given this is his first year at the SEC school, there's real potential for a very hefty buyout to worry about for any school that looks to hire him.

Drew is also a pretty young coach who has never coached a team to a win in three NCAA tournament appearances.

Why he may come

This is the biggest job in Drew's home state and even with his new Vanderbilt contract would be a significant pay hike. With his college and NBA history he's seen a little bit of the spotlight and can probably handle or might even embrace the attention this job will bring any coach. He's seen how well his brother is doing of late in a big conference and he had some nice wins this year to get into the tourney, instilling in him some confidence that he can succeed at this level. He has a recognizable name and connections in Indiana which would obviously help with recruiting.

Bottom Line

We could see Drew right there at the bottom of the second tier of potential candidates but would have to view him as a longer shot. The in-state connection is helpful but there's no IU ties. He might have a significant buyout and only comes with one year of high major coaching experience. At the same time his coaching pedigree is good and he holds a good reputation, so he's a name to watch and one that has moved up on our board as there is a little chatter he's getting a bit of a look.


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