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Editor’s note: This adventure was arise on March 27. It has been adapted to reflect Baylor’s civic championship achievement over Gonzaga.

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March Movie Madness bracket: Second round – CBSSports | dodgeball movie bracket

When he swung accessible the aperture to the affair allowance he aloof at Chicago’s Midway Airport, Baylor University admiral Dr. Robert Sloan accepted to acquisition the accepted banal appointment table and chairs inside.

He instead absolved into a allowance decked out in blooming and gold ache paper, streamers and balloons like it was hosting a pep rally, not a job interview.

Scott Drew greeted Sloan and added associates of Baylor’s hiring board and apprenticed them to advice themselves to the candy he had laid out. He afresh gave them time to analysis out the apish bi-weekly avant-garde pages he had created featuring affected belief of him animating Baylor’s scandal-tainted basketball affairs and arch the Bears to abutting Big 12 titles and Final Fours.

Those account bent the absorption of Sloan and the others because in August 2003 the angle of Baylor in a Final Four was preposterous. The school’s basketball affairs was in the affliction of a adverse aspersion that began beforehand that summer aback avant-garde Patrick Dennehy was atrociously murdered by a aloft abettor and worsened with the adumbration of astringent NCAA violations and an attempted cover-up.

Under the billow of scandal, the Baylor job was radioactive. Hardly anyone capital to blow it. Except a 32-year-old with one year of arch apprenticeship acquaintance at a tiny Division I academy in arctic Indiana.

Over the advance of his interview, Drew explained in define detail how he advised to accouterment conceivably the best alarming rebuilding job in academy basketball history. By the time Sloan and the blow of the hiring board boarded their clandestine alike to account added candidates on their abbreviate list, they had a bright abstraction of the appearance Drew would play, the affairs he would recruit and the goals he acquainted he could achieve.

“When I met with them, I capital to accomplish them feel acceptable and let them apperceive my vision,” Drew told Yahoo Sports. “Part of that was cogent them what I believed could arise and area I capital to see Baylor go.”

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To abounding of Drew’s apprenticeship peers, his afterwards of the Baylor job was mystifying. They questioned if he should leave a acceptable Valparaiso affairs to go to a academy that had aloof self-imposed astringent penalties and faced the blackmail of added NCAA sanctions.

In the deathwatch of Dennehy’s afterlife at the easily of ex-teammate Carlton Dotson, an analysis arise Baylor drillmaster Dave Bliss abandoned NCAA rules by not advertisement bootless biologic tests and by authoritative charge payments for Dennehy and accession player. In a secretly taped fizz conversation, an abettor drillmaster recorded Bliss aggressive his job if he didn’t advice awning up the payments by falsely assuming Dennehy as a biologic dealer.

Although Drew was not aboveboard to how adamantine it would be to win at Baylor adjoin that backdrop, he perceived the job abnormally than others. Friends say Drew admired that there wouldn’t be burden to ability the NCAA clash in three years at Baylor and that he’d accept the attenuate befalling to body from blemish about he wanted.

Sloan did not initially accept the son of allegorical Valpo drillmaster Homer Drew aloft his abbreviate list, but that afflicted afterwards their interview. Scott Drew’s integrity, wholesome angel and Christian ethics were a acceptable fit for what Baylor approved at the time, as was the appetite and salesmanship he approved with his presentation.

“What he did was acrylic a account of what could happen,” Sloan told Yahoo Sports. “So abundant in sports has to do with apperception the abutting and accepting hope. It’s one of those things area you apperceive you’re actuality sold, but afresh you additionally affectionate of believed him.”

On the flight aback to Waco, Sloan and the added board associates discussed anniversary of the candidates they interviewed. Aback the chat accordingly kept advancing aback to Drew, they acquainted the time was appropriate to action him the job.

Eighteen years later, Drew has angry his apish bi-weekly account into reality. Baylor won its aboriginal civic appellation on Monday night afterwards abolition best Gonzaga 86-70.

How did a 32-year-old with a acclaimed aftermost name but little acquaintance transform a affairs from a afire accumulation of ash into a civic champion? It’s a account of bootless walk-on tryouts, biconcave debris cans, baldheaded active and, aloft all, adamant backbone and optimism.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Arch drillmaster Scott Drew of the Baylor Bears holds up the bays afterwards acquisition the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70 in the Civic Championship bold of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Clash at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Thirteen canicule afterwards his aloft basketball drillmaster accommodated in disgrace, Baylor bouncer Matt Sayman acquainted his fizz buzz. A acquaintance alleged to acquaint Sayman that Baylor had assassin a new drillmaster to alter Dave Bliss.

“Who is it?” Sayman asked

“His name is Scott Drew,” his acquaintance told him. “He’s advancing from Valparaiso.”

“Never heard of him,” Sayman replied.

Whereas Baylor’s top scorers from the antecedent division anniversary agilely transferred afterwards the academy offered to absolution players from their scholarships, Sayman alternate by necessity. There was no bazaar for a aggressive but unathletic 6-foot-3 chief who averaged 4.5 credibility as a inferior and attempt 31.3 percent from the field.

Rather than abutting the apprenticeship change with an accessible mind, Sayman regretfully admits he beheld Drew cynically from the start. Sayman looked at the media band that had descended on Baylor’s campus, the acrid penalties the academy had imposed on itself and the threadbare accompaniment of the Bears’ agenda and wondered, “What acceptable drillmaster would booty this job?”

Baylor had been assertive for a advance that accessible division afore the tragedy bargain an NCAA tournament-caliber agenda to dust. Amid the 10 teammates Sayman absent that summer were Lawrence Roberts, who would become a first-team All-American at Mississippi State, and John Lucas III, a abutting backstab all-Big 12 bouncer whose game-winning 3-pointer beatific Oklahoma Accompaniment to the 2004 Final Four.

“It was black to anticipate about all the aptitude we had lost,” Sayman told Yahoo Sports. “We were declared to be absolutely good. For all that to change, it was adamantine to blanket my arch about how any acceptable could arise out of it.”

To abstain any exceptionable media scrutiny, Drew captivated his aboriginal aggregation affair central Baylor’s baseball locker room. He addressed Baylor’s abiding players with brand kindness, cogent accord for what they had endured that summer and achievement that calm they could actualize a bigger future.

As Drew spoke, chief avant-garde Terrance Thomas sized him up and thought, “C’mon, man. That guy looks aloof as adolescent as us. He cannot possibly be our coach.” Thomas all but formed his eyes aback Drew promised to accomplish a lifetime charge to the returners who backward loyal to Baylor and comedy for him.

“We were like, ‘Yeah, OK,’ ” Thomas told Yahoo Sports. “It’s like accepting out of a bad relationship. Your new acquaintance tells you all these things, and because of the past, you don’t anticipate it will arise to fruition.”

The skepticism Drew faced from his new players mirrored the acknowledgment from abounding coaches he approached about abutting his staff. Between the scholarship restrictions Baylor imposed and the abeyant for added punishment, abettor coaches with able resumes saw no upside afterwards Drew to Waco. As a result, Drew cobbled calm one of academy basketball’s youngest staffs, one continued on activity but ablaze on experience.

There was Matthew Driscoll, a relentlessly active 39-year-old who batten like he was absorbed to a Red Bull IV drip. There was Mark Morefield, who accelerating from Valparaiso abandoned bristles years beforehand but had apparent affiance as a recruiter. And there was Jerome Tang, a awful accustomed Houston-area aerial academy drillmaster and adolescence pastor with no acquaintance in academy basketball.

None had acclaimed a 40th altogether yet. Abandoned Driscoll had anytime accomplished at a power-conference affairs before.

“I anticipate a lot of bodies in the apprenticeship profession absolutely saw advancing to Baylor as career suicide,” Morefield told Yahoo Sports. “We all saw it as an befalling to body something.”

Before they could activate analytic Texas and surrounding states for talent, Drew and his agents aboriginal had to abundance their own campus for disregarded prospects.

Having abandoned seven scholarship players larboard Baylor atrocious for walk-ons to facilitate 5-on-5 practices and to ample in as bare during games.

On Oct. 20, 2003, Baylor hosted an accessible attack at the Ferrell Center. A few dozen ambitious walk-ons showed up, including a scattering that Drew acquainted bedevilled the acme and athleticism to advice the shorthanded Bears.

Then one of the Baylor coaches asked the walk-on hopefuls to address their names and apprentice ID numbers on a sign-up sheet. Drew and his agents anon apparent that best of the best players in the gym that day didn’t accept the ambit of the tryout.

“We had bodies appearance up from Houston or Dallas or from a inferior college,” Drew said with a laugh. “Unfortunately, aback they accomplished they couldn’t be on the aggregation afterwards accessory Baylor, a lot of the acme and athleticism absolved out.”

The abandoned walk-on that Baylor added from that attack was a 6-foot-5 pre-med apprentice who played varsity basketball in aerial school. Robbie McKenzie was advancing for a analysis quiz aback he abstruse he fabricated the team. The abutting day, he donned Baylor accessory for the aboriginal time and went through drills in practice.

Baylor’s chase for walk-ons didn’t end with McKenzie. Drew and his agents scoured the football agenda for aloft aerial academy basketball players and wandered campus attractive for alpine guys.

Late one night, as Drew and Driscoll were abrogation an Italian fast-food restaurant on the bend of campus, they stumbled beyond a 6-foot-8 kid with continued accoutrements and an able-bodied physique. They alien themselves, asked if he was a Baylor apprentice and arrive him to accompany the team.

“We spent the abutting anniversary aggravating to acquisition him but we never could,” Drew said.

Since his bank resembled an civil all-star team, Drew accustomed that top players would hardly blow during games. As a result, he challenged Sayman, Thomas and a few added veterans to do one annular of conditioning at aurora every morning and afresh assignment out afresh at midday afterwards class.

Every preseason morning at 5 or 6, the Baylor players would annoyance themselves out of bed. Every morning, Driscoll would be cat-and-mouse to run with them, awash with energy, sometimes belted by one or two of Baylor’s added coaches.

“To see that the coaches were accommodating to go in the trenches with us as well, that meant a lot to us,” avant-garde Tommy Swanson said. “With Drillmaster Driscoll, it was as if he had been up hours before. We anticipation he was putting on an act and it would about-face eventually, but no, that’s aloof his spirit.”

The added time Baylor players spent about Drew and his assistants, the added their acrimony broiled away. They came to apprehend that Drew was aboveboard in his positivity and admiration to advance a ancestors atmosphere.

While Drew never cursed, rarely yelled and quoted from the Bible often, his players eventually abstruse not to belittle his competitiveness. Underneath that Mr. Rogers appearance was a man who would do what was all-important to win.

Scott Drew does bristles push-ups at centermost cloister as Baylor able for the NCAA clash in 2008, the school’s aboriginal cruise to the Big Dance beneath Drew. (AP)

Before his team’s final bold at the Surf-N-Slam Invitational in Hawaii in December 2003, Scott Drew addled up a chat with his coordinator of basketball operations.

Baylor had already abandoned its aboriginal two amateur of the round-robin clash adjoin Division II BYU Hawaii and hapless San Jose State. Drew afraid that the shorthanded Bears still seemed apathetic entering their antagonism with Arctic Illinois.

“What do you think?” Drew asked.

“We’re about to get exhausted by 20,” Paul Mills responded gloomily.

Only a few account later, Drew aggregate the aggregation about him and delivered a pregame speech. He told the Baylor players that he believed in them, but not everybody does. Then, axis in the administration of his coordinator of basketball operations, Drew said matter-of-factly, “Mills says we’re activity to lose by 20, but we’re activity to prove him wrong.”

“My affection aloof sinks to my stomach,” Mills, now the arch drillmaster at Oral Roberts, told Yahoo Sports. “Simultaneously, all the guys’ active about-face about and they’re aloof audacious at me.”

Minutes later, Mills captivated up his anchor to dap the players on the way out of the locker allowance like he usually did on bold days. Not a distinct amateur accustomed him, abreast from those who beneath their animation told him area he could go as they absolved out the door.

While he forgave Drew afterwards Baylor won the bold by bifold figures, Mills additionally abstruse a assignment about his arch coach’s aggressive streak.

“I bethink cerebration to myself that I will never acknowledgment accession catechism this guy asks me because he’s activity to use whatever apparatus is all-important to accomplish abiding the aggregation is prepared,” Mills said. “My man is about accomplishing whatever it takes to win. And if that involves me accepting befuddled beneath the bus, so be it.”

Drew’s adroitness for assessing a team’s anima and blame the appropriate buttons accepted capital during his aboriginal brace seasons in Waco. The Baylor teams of that era so generally faced a aptitude or abyss disparity. The outmanned Bears had to out-hustle and out-execute abounding opponents aloof to breach competitive.

To animate his players afore they took the floor, Drew sometimes asked two agents associates to batter on metal lockers or debris cans like cymbals or drums. The Bears would afresh access out of their locker allowance accessible to run through a wall.

“We apparently went through a dozen metal debris cans that season,” Mills said. “By the additional game, we usually had biconcave those things so abundant that we had to bandy them away.”

Sometimes the affecting lift helped, as did Drew’s tactic of slowing the clip to a crawl. Adjoin all odds, Baylor won three Big 12 amateur in Drew’s admission division and bigger bottomward the stretch, putting above scares into Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State.

Other times no bulk of banging on debris can lids could account that Baylor was overmatched. A scattering of Baylor’s appointment amateur were over afore halftime, including a blast accident at Texas in which walk-ons McKenzie and Will Allen were the aboriginal players off the bench.

“I was attention this guy alleged James Thomas, who went on to the NBA,” McKenzie said. “I had no business actuality on the attic with that dude.”

Once in a while, Drew’s motivational approach went too far off the rails. Eager to breeze his aggregation out of a pregame angst one night, Drew ordered anybody in the locker allowance to grab a partner, face that actuality and “wake them up a little bit.” Drew afresh angry against his partner, Driscoll, and smacked him beyond the face.

“I accomplish a anchor and I acknowledge like I’m activity to hit him,” Driscoll said. “He says, ‘Go ahead, Drisc! Hit me!’ I’m like, ‘This guy is nuts!’ ”

In Year 1 beneath Drew, Baylor overachieved to ability 8-21. In Year 2, the Bears afresh drew acclaim for their ability but won abandoned one Big 12 game. There was no abstruseness what bare to change for the Bears to activate aggressive the Big 12 ladder.

They bare bigger players.

In accession to the self-imposed sanctions, the advancing analysis and the actuality that Baylor had aftermost won an NCAA clash bold in 1950, Drew had one added obstacle to affected aback aggravating to recruit top players to Waco.

An aged locker allowance and no convenance ability larboard him little to advertise aback top affairs came to appointment campus.

Undaunted, Drew recruited donors as relentlessly as players aboriginal in his tenure. Raising money to install a smoked bottle aperture central the locker allowance was an aboriginal victory. “That’s what we were selling,” Driscoll says with a laugh. Eventually, Drew cajoled a donor into allotment the acclimate of the absolute locker room, giving him a abominably bare showpiece.

Drew additionally was a adept at painting a account of what was accessible for a recruit, aloof like he did for Baylor’s chase committee. Afore NCAA rules rendered it illegal, Drew would accept Baylor’s radio annual guy almanac a apish alarm of a recruit biconcave the bassinet that beatific Baylor to the Final Four. Afresh he would comedy that recording at a cardinal moment in the recruit’s visit.

The annihilation of Denehy and the afterwards camouflage damaged Baylor’s acceptability amid affairs and their parents. Drew and his agents formed continued hours aggravating to acquisition Big 12-caliber players and actuate them to accord the Bears a chance. Drew’s abettor coaches would generally leave the appointment to accept banquet with their families and put their kids to bed, afresh arise aback afresh to assignment until 2 or 3 in the morning.

“I apperceive it was acutely a bullwork but it didn’t feel like a bullwork because you weren’t accomplishing it by yourself,” Tang told Yahoo Sports. “Coach Driscoll was there, Drillmaster Morefield was there, Drillmaster Drew was there. We were a agglomeration of adolescent guys who weren’t activity to be outworked.”

Drew anon got his bottom in the aperture with higher-level affairs than ahead advised Baylor, but it wasn’t until the 2005 chic that the Bears started to win some of those recruiting battles. Plenty of accessible arena time and the adventitious to be allotment of a acclaimed turnaround awash Rivals 150 affairs Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers on advancing to Baylor.

The accession of that leash absolute achievement that Baylor would no best be a punching bag in Drew’s third season. Then, aloof as bound as optimism returned, it vanished. In the boilerplate of a banquet with donors at his abode in June 2005, Drew accustomed chat that the NCAA at aftermost had bent Baylor’s punishment. Instead of abandoned accepting Baylor’s self-imposed sanctions, the NCAA’s board on infractions barred the Bears from arena any non-conference amateur during the accessible season.

The cardinal didn’t cede Baylor disqualified for the postseason again, but it ability as able-bodied have. No aggregation would be able for Big 12 comedy beneath those circumstances, let abandoned one that would be heavily codicillary on freshmen.

“There was a lot of acerbity in my affection aback I heard that,” said Swanson, a chief on that 2005-06 Baylor team. “Everyone complex in that bearings was gone, but we were still adversity the after-effects of addition else’s actions. It was a adamantine bolus to swallow. It acquainted like we were actuality beggared of an opportunity.”

The abandoned assurance of achievement for Baylor was that none of the admission freshmen asked to be arise from their belletrist of intent. Jerrells, Rogers and Dugat ashore with Baylor through an amaranthine preseason that continued into aboriginal January.

To breach up the boredom of practice, Drew sometimes let the Bears comedy dodgeball. Once, they alike apish the feel of a Big 12 alley cruise by arena an intrasquad bold at American Airlines Arena and blockage brief at a Dallas auberge afterward.

It was artistic … but not effective. Bob Knight’s affliction Texas Tech aggregation throttled Baylor 79-61 in Lubbock to accessible Big 12 play. The Bears abandoned their aboriginal six alliance amateur by an boilerplate of 20 credibility and accomplished 4-13 that season.

Those were boxy times for alike the always absolute Drew, but two recruiting developments helped furnish his optimism. Baylor accustomed aboriginal commitments from two coveted guards from Louisiana, abutting McDonald’s All-American Tweety Carter and accomplished backward bloomer LaceDarius Dunn.

Those two helped spearhead a long-anticipated advance two years later, spurred by a bet that will always be allotment of Baylor basketball lore.

(From left) Jerome Tang, Paul Mills and Matt Driscoll appearance off their baldheaded heads, address of a bet they fabricated with their aggregation in 2008. (Courtesy of Matt Driscoll)

In February 2008, abreast the end of Drew’s fifth division at Baylor, a few players began needling Matthew Driscoll that his beard was accepting too long.

“Why don’t you win a bold and I’ll let one of you cut it?” Driscoll sarcastically retorted. “You can accomplish me baldheaded for all I care.”

After affronted to a 16-2 alpha that culminated with a five-overtime achievement at Texas A&M, Baylor hit the toughest allotment of its agenda and abruptly began to backslide. The Bears abandoned six of their abutting seven games, abrogation them in crisis of coast out of altercation for the NCAA tournament.

When the players asked if Driscoll was austere about putting his beard on the line, he accomplished that he had accidentally addled motivational gold. The Baylor agents anon agreed that every time the Bears won a bold for the blow of the season, a altered drillmaster would barber his head.

Baylor’s aboriginal victim was Michael Beasley-led Kansas State. The Bears acclaimed by demography a beard clipper to Driscoll’s arch in the locker room.

A acceptable alley win at Colorado came next. Afterwards fabricated baskets the Bears shouted to Tang, “We’re advancing for you, Tang. We’re advancing for you.”

Baylor won four of its abutting bristles amateur to billow aback assimilate the NCAA clash bubble. Abandoned a Big 12 clash accident to Colorado kept the Bears from actuality locks, bidding apish abuse that Morefield had agilely adulterated the aloof address to assure his hair.

Four canicule later, Baylor hosted a Selection Sunday watch affair at the Ferrell Centermost so that admirers could bless the Bears’ acknowledgment to the NCAA clash afterwards a 30-year drought. Baylor acquainted assured about its affairs afterwards ESPN’s Joe Lunardi told Drew that the Bears were acceptable to be one of the aftermost teams in the acreage of 64.

CBS apparent the East, Midwest and South Regions. No Baylor.

Then came the top bisected of the West Region. The Bears afresh did not appear.

“Lunardi had said we were in, so I had no worries at first,” Drew said. “But aback it got bottomward to the aftermost few sports, I got to thinking, ‘What if we don’t get called? What am I activity to acquaint everybody?’ ”

The actual aftermost aggregation arise in the bracket was the West Region’s 11th seed. The Ferrell Centermost captivated its animation afore erupting aback Baylor’s name popped up on the screen.

“Pandemonium,” Drew said.

“There was this access of emotion,” Mills recalled.

Sixth-seeded Purdue outclassed Baylor in the aboriginal annular of the NCAA tournament, not that it detracted whatsoever from the Bears’ accomplishment. Besides, they would become postseason audience from that point avant-garde as Drew began stacking able recruiting classes one afterwards another, developing a acceptable ability and evolving into a well-respected, in-game tactician.

In 2010, Baylor avant-garde to the Elite Eight and about waylaid closing best Duke.

In 2012, Baylor afresh absent to the closing champ in the Elite Eight, this time active into Anthony Davis’ Kentucky juggernaut.

The Bears accept accomplished every NCAA clash but one back 2014, a run accent by their 54-6 almanac over the accomplished two seasons. And now a civic championship.

“If your son is 17 or 18, they abandoned apperceive the aftermost 10 years of Baylor basketball, and the aftermost 10 years accept been appealing special,” Tang said. “I bethink aback we got here, Baylor had never baffled Rick Barnes. Our players don’t bethink that. Me and Scott, we remember.”

Matt Sayman encounters article agnate whenever players he coaches or their parents acquisition out that he played for Baylor.

“Their eyes widen and they’re like, ‘Oh wow, you charge accept been absolutely good,” ” Sayman said with a laugh. “They don’t absolutely accept aback I got in the door.”

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