Vanderbilt has lured Bryce Drew away from his alma mater at Valparaiso to coach the Commodores men’s basketball team.
The Commodores announced the hiring Wednesday with a series of tweets from their Twitter account starting with video of their mascot welcoming Drew at the airport followed by a photo of Drew with athletic director David Williams and lastly a post asking fans to welcome their new coach.
Drew, 41, just won a school-record 30 games in his his fifth season as head coach at Valparaiso, which ended with a loss to George Washington in the NIT championship. Drew is 124-49 overall with two NCAA Tournament berths in his tenure.
He takes over a Vanderbilt program that went 19-14 under Kevin Stallings with seven NCAA Tournament berths over the past 17 seasons.
Here is a press release from Valparaiso University:
The long history of the men’s basketball program at Valparaiso University will begin a new chapter in 2016–2017, as head coach Bryce Drew ’98 departs to become the head coach at Vanderbilt University.
“We wish Bryce Drew and his family the best as they prepare for this next step in their journey,” said Mark LaBarbera, director of athletics. “It’s been a blessing to work with a man who embodies such character and faith. Bryce is an exceptional young coach who has been an integral part of the men’s basketball team’s success. We are confident we will continue to build on his success and look forward to the future.”
In his five years as head coach, Drew lifted the team’s national reputation and posted a 124-49 record, leading the team to four Horizon League regular season championships and two league tournament titles. A three-time Horizon League Coach of the Year, Drew led Valpo to the three winningest seasons in program history during his time at the helm. Prior to becoming head coach in May 2011, Drew spent six seasons as an assistant and associate head coach and starred for Valpo on the court from 1994 to 1998.
“The Drew family has made significant contributions to build upon Valpo’s storied tradition, growing it into a national brand that celebrates a winning combination of athleticism, teamwork, quality academics, character, integrity, and faith,” said Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., president.
“We are certainly saddened to see Bryce Drew move on, yet we are thrilled that one of our own alumni has achieved this level of national recognition and success. Valpo has provided a wonderful platform for Homer, Scott, and now, Bryce Drew to each hone their skills as coaches and develop national reputations, and we look forward to working with our next coach to build upon that same platform.”
Valpo’s commitment to men’s basketball dates back to 1916. The University moved to the Horizon League in 2007–2008. Valpo advanced to the postseason in each of Drew’s five years as head coach, including two NCAA Tournament appearances and two NIT appearances — highlighted by a trip to the NIT Final Four and title game held at the famed Madison Square Garden in 2016.
“We send Bryce to Nashville with our good wishes and fervent prayers for God’s richest blessing as he aims for a higher level of success,” Heckler said. “I am pleased Bryce has moved to another school focused on academic excellence coupled with athletic accomplishment, and I look forward to rooting for another V.U.”
The 2015–2016 men’s basketball team posted a 30-7 overall record, the highest in program history. The team looks to build on its success during the offseason and will return to competition fall 2016.