Coming off the heels of what may the worse run of publicity a modern University has encountered through its sports program, Baylor Men’s Basketball continues to win on and off the court – quietly. Despite the reports of 52 rapes by Baylor football players in a four-year period, a University-wide cover-up that has led to numerous resignations, Coach Scott Drew has been able to lead the Bears to a 24-6 record with the regular season coming to a close this weekend.
Contempt for the University once again swirled this week due to insensitive comments by Women’s head coach Kim Mulkey.
Mulkey’s comments, in which she later apologized, show the frustration in selling Baylor University to the outside world. Mulkey is revered on campus, she is a powerful figure packed up in an aging point guard’s body. Mulkey was the first to bring Baylor athletics to national levels, she took over in 2000 and won the National title in 2005. She became the first person to win the NCAA title as both a player and coach.
As the University drew the ire of every national sports show for Mulkey’s comments, Scott Drew started his week by beating the #10 team in the nation, West Virginia and hosting the nation’s best guard prospect, Trevon Duval.
What Scott Drew has done at Baylor since he took over the job in 2003 is elevate a program that was on its last breath to the best in the state of Texas and second best in the Big 12. No one could have walked into a worse situation than Drew and established this level of success. Drew has led Baylor to two Elite 8’s and two Sweet 16 appearances.
There were a lot of doubters to Drew’s early success.
People questioned his hiring at the time of Dwon Clifton who was unable to steer John Wall to Waco but ultimately helped the Bears land Quincy Miller and later Stargell Love (who never ascended to a Big 12 talent). Critics said it was the talent and not Drew for the Bears success. But, Drew proved that wrong, winning without McDonald’s All-Americans and first-round draft picks.
There was the talk that Drew couldn’t win the big game or win in the NCAA tournament but he proved that wrong.
When Isaiah Austin’s college career came to a halt, Baylor Men’s Basketball embraced Austin and created an opportunity for him, keeping him a part of the program, when Austin needed it most. Later, the man upstairs joined in and now Austin is playing professionally overseas.
Scott Drew developed players such as Jonathan Motley who have come from being nationally unknown to All-American caliber.
The blueprint that has been built through a good staff, faith and culture has persevered through the troubles around him. But the question has to be asked -Is it time for Drew to look elsewhere? As the coaching carousel starts to turn, top schools may look to Drew to fix their program. Can Baylor keep Drew in Waco and most importantly can they afford to lose him?