It could be said that the heart of Texas beats for football and Jesus, with its Friday night lights and Sunday morning services. But Scott Drew’s loyalty is to Jesus Christ and basketball.
Drew has been the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Baylor University since 2003. He came to the university with little coaching experience — and the giant task of rebuilding a program that had been broken by scandal and tragedy.
“We may not win another game this year, and I may be a horrible coach, but if any of these guys leave without knowing Christ, that would be the real loss.”
That same year, Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy was murdered by a fellow teammate, Carlton Dotson. The coach at the time, Dave Bliss, was ultimately fired and penalized for his attempt to cover up the crime and for encouraging players to lie during the investigation. The details of the case are now being dredged up after so many years in a new Showtime documentary that premieres March 31.
Drew came to Waco, Texas, to coach a team that was falling apart. Over the last 14 years, he has managed to revive it with methodical, consistent leadership. Jokes and criticisms have been made about Scott Drew — but he keeps winning.
His ability to recruit excellent, unknown players and coach them into stars has given Baylor nine 20-win seasons, two turns in the Elite Eight, one in the Sweet Sixteen, an NIT win — and six NCAA Tournament appearances. Baylor has been ranked in the top 25 at some point over each of the last 10 seasons and even was ranked No. 1 briefly in 2017.
But just when controversy seemed to be behind everyone, Baylor’s football team fell into shambles and disgrace amid accusations of sexual assault or harassment on the part of some players. The scandal led to the ouster of the football coach, the athletic director, and even the president. As a result, recruiting efforts have been damaged for all sports, including basketball.
Fortunately, Scott Drew is focused on more than merely winning games or successful seasons — he is focused on eternity. A Fox Sports article noted that after a loss in 2014, Drew told one of the team chaplains, “We may not win another game this year, and I may be a horrible coach, but if any of these guys leave without knowing Christ, that would be the real loss.”
Drew’s calling is higher than coaching. His calling is to share Christ with his own team and help develop them into great players — but also great followers of Jesus. He has worked closely with Highland Church in Waco, watched players profess faith in Christ as Savior, and witnessed their baptisms.
“Winning the game of life is lot more rewarding than a 40-minute basketball game that’s so temporary,” Drew told Fox Sports. “To have an opportunity to help be a part of an impact on a young person’s life is the best feeling.”
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Mark 8:36 says, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Scott Drew has demonstrated determination to develop the best team possible balanced with the understanding that success on the court is fleeting. Eternal salvation is the ultimate goal.
Katie Nations is a working mother of three young children. She lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.