In 1998, Bryce Drew hit one of the most iconic shots in NCAA Tournament history, drilling a three-pointer at the buzzer to lead 13th-seeded Valparaiso to a 70-69 win over fourth-seeded Ole Miss.
Now the head coach at Valpo, Drew, 41, hopes to one day have a coaching moment as infamous as “The Shot.”
“That would be the goal now that I’m a coach,” Drew said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “But growing up, loving March Madness, always wanting to be part of it, to have a play like that – that’s a great blessing. Every time I see it, I still appreciate it. I’m okay either way. I guess the only way you top that is to win a national championship, maybe. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to answer that question for you and tell you which one is better.”
Drew played in the NBA from 1998 to 2004 and played professionally in Italy and Spain before becoming an assistant coach at Valpo in 2005. He became head coach in 2011 and has since led the Crusaders to four Horizon League regular season championships, two Horizon League tournament championships and is a two-time Horizon League Coach of the Year. It’s fair to say that plenty of programs would love to have him as their coach.
Drew, however, is happy where he is.
“I definitely have some loyalty to here,” he said. “Valpo has been really good to my family and me, and our program is still trending up. Every year we’ve taken a step up. Obviously we want to be at-large on a yearly basis. I still feel there’s stuff to accomplish here, and our school has done a great job at investing in basketball to help us try to reach some of those goals.”
Valpo went 26-6 (16-2) this year but lost to Green Bay, 99-92, in overtime in the Horizon League Championship on Monday. Still, the Crusaders are in the mix for an at-large bid, which is a testament to the job Drew has done.
“There’s definitely a lot of parity (in college basketball),” he said. “It’s so hard for teams at our level to even be in this situation. I think we’re the only team on the bubble that’s played more road games this year than home games. Usually teams will play only a couple road games before they get into conference. Again, more than half of our games have been on the road. So obviously the parity is out there. I think at the end of the day, fans get excited to see the Valpos, the Monmouths. I think if they had the tournament in Dayton, those First Four, if they’d put Monmouth against a BCS (team) and Valpo against a BCS, I would say those two games would probably be as watched as any of those first-round games practically.”