Coaching search profile: Bryce Drew

  • 03/22/2017 4:43 pm in

After nine seasons in Bloomington, Tom Crean is out as Indiana’s head coach and the search for his replacement is underway.

Inside the Hall will profile some of the candidates who are being discussed for the job over the coming days. Our eleventh profile takes a closer look at Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew.

Mr. Basketball for the state of Indiana in 1994, Bryce Drew certainly has a pedigree in the Hoosier state.

Although he spent this past season at the helm of Vanderbilt, Drew is best known for his accomplishments at Valparaiso, both as a player and a coach.

Drew was a guard for the Crusaders from 1994-98, playing under his father Homer and earning Summit League player of the year honors twice. A prolific facilitator and long distance shooter, Drew made 364 threes, scored 2,142 points and dished 626 assists over the course of 121 games.

The play Drew is famous for came in the first round of the 1998 NCAA tournament, when he nailed a trey at the horn to push the No. 13 seed Crusaders past No. 4 seed Ole Miss.

The play helped lift Valparaiso to brief national prominence, as the Crusaders would eventually reach the Sweet 16.

Following his senior season, Drew was selected 16th overall in the NBA Draft by the Rockets. Drew struggled to find success in the league, playing six non-distinct seasons across three different teams from 1998-2004.

After a brief stint playing in Europe, Drew returned to his alma mater in 2005 to take on the role of assistant coach, where he worked directly under his father Homer.

When Homer Drew stepped down from the position to become Associate Athletic Director in 2011, his son Bryce assumed the role of head coach.

Drew spent five seasons at the helm of Valparaiso, winning at least 22 games in all but one. His teams made the postseason every year, including two trips to the NCAA tournament and a second place finish in the NIT in 2015, his final campaign.

Following the NIT run, Drew accepted a job at Vanderbilt, signing a six-year deal and leading the Commodores to the NCAA tournament in his first year.

Drew has yet to win an NCAA Tournament game as a head coach (0-3), but each time, his team has been the worse seed.

Those that have followed Drew’s coaching career closely describe him as reserved, a players-coach that runs a system predicated on defense.

Drew’s teams don’t run at a breakneck pace, as they’ve never been in the Top 190 of adjusted tempo. Only twice has a team led by Drew finished a season in the Top 50 in terms of offensive efficiency, but in each of the last three seasons, he’s boasted a Top 50 defense. His inaugural campaign at Vanderbilt was the first time he’s ended a campaign in the Top 50 of both offensive and defensive efficiency (all stats per KenPom).

Final Analysis: Although far from one of the favorites to take the Indiana job, Drew has established a quality resume in a short amount of time and his ties to the state would likely be an added bonus.

The details of his current contract with Vanderbilt are unclear (as a private university, the school only has to disclose a limited amount of info). Kevin Stallings, the previous coach, had a salary of around $2.1 million in 2016, significantly less than what Indiana would be able to offer.

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  • Oh, sure, I hear you. I was just referring to the assumption some have that if FG hasn’t picked someone yet, it’s because he’s still playing. I don’t think that’s necessarily true, and that people like Miller who are done playing could still be in consideration.

    I really don’t know how the process works. I wouldn’t be surprised if contact has been made — yes, things leak out, but there are professionals, such as agents, who can field calls without letting the cat out of the bag. Personally, I assume contact has been made with a number of candidates just to gauge their interest — and probably, some have already shot FG down. I really don’t think he’s just going to wait and then call five people at once; the process just has to be smoother than that, doesn’t it?

  • Pianoroark

    Totally agree, sadly. I will be surprised at this point if it isn’t Alford.

  • Not surprising at all. Doesn’t mean he couldn’t come back if things aren’t looking great given his injury and the next coach is the right one.

  • Agreed. That’s not necessarily nothing, though, if it could mean strong recruiting within the state. Maybe would have to prove himself a bit before his in-state connections would start paying real dividends. But who the heck knows.

  • level 42

    Kind of curious why this site hasn’t done profiles of Wittman, Woodson, Smart, and my favorite choice for coach, Isiah Thomas. They all played when IU was a dominant team under Coach Knight. They have all coached in the NBA. They should at least be considered.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    I’m with you. I don’t think it is nothing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is something either. I think we over estimate a coach’s recruiting ties to an area over someone who is from a different region. The second that someone like Donovan or White would become the HC at Indiana, he immediately has some gravitas when he’s seen in a gym in the Midwest at an AAU tourney.

    We may notice it takes a little longer for White to lock down the state than someone like Alford, but I’d expect that if you give him a couple years, he will be fine.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    There are down sides to every job. I’d think recruiting would be a drag, yet it would be nice to be able to have a lot of control over your roster. Equally, I think it would be a drag to “coach” headstrong prima donnas like Russell Westbrook in the NBA…and know that if you cross him, you’re fired.

  • Missing Moye

    What Inside the Hall writes has no influence on who is being considered for the job. However, I believe they are trying to focus on the most likely candidates and you have to draw the line somewhere. Why not include Mike Krzyzewski – he played for Knight in the 60s? Or let’s think outside the box a little. Bill Belichick is a brilliant coach in the NFL, so maybe some of those skills would translate well to coaching college basketball. Maybe there should be a story on him, too.

  • IU Cal 1809

    Funny u should being up Isiah my wife’s boss is season ticket holder and he heard that Isiah being considered too.

  • No, Belichick is heading to the Colts. Didn’t you hear?

  • domtakis

    This would be a very interesting hire. You just get a sense that the guy is a winner and has been for a long time.Indiana Mr Basketball, led his team to the state championship game, Led an underdog Valpo team on a nice run in the 98 tournament after hitting one of the top 10 buzzer beaters of all time (it doesn’t get any more hoosier than that david slaying goliath moment) He comes from good coaching pedigree with deep ties in the state.Should be able to recruit well. He has been successful up to this point at his different coaching stints but could be destined for greatness with the resources Indiana could offer him. He just seems to be one of those guys who turns what he touches to gold, unfortunately that is Vandy gold right now and timing could be an issue. Make him an offer he cannot refuse and see if he really wants to make a mark on his home state.

  • Jeff Crowder

    No…not at all.

  • pjschgo

    Isiah Thomas has been absolutely terrible at everything he’s done since being a player. He walked out as GM in Toronto and left the team a mess. He single-handedly bankrupted the CBA. He took a proud Knicks franchise and made it the worst team in the league…with the highest payroll (not to mention the whole sexual assault thing). He took over a Pacers team that was Eastern Conference champs, coached them to a .500 record for three years, and the year after he left they won 61 games. In three years at FIU his best record was 11-19. Why in the world would anybody want that guy?!

  • vicbert caladipo

    Ouch! ; )

  • Schmolik

    I wish Illinois had considered him. One of the stars of the 2005 team that made the championship, Roger Powell, has worked under Bryce for many years at Valpo and this past season at Vandy. Bryce is probably dying to come back to the Midwest to be closer to his father. Because of Powell, I thought Illinois would be a more perfect fit but our AD either rejected him or didn’t even call him (stupid).