Sources – Scott Drew rejects Kentucky to remain Baylor's coach – Sports News (Trending Perfect)


Scott Drew has decided to stay at Baylor, spurning interest from Kentucky after he emerged as that school's target to replace John Calipari, sources told ESPN.

Drew, who won a national title at Baylor in 2021, has a close relationship with Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart but ultimately decided to stay at Baylor, where he coached for 21 years and went 446-244.

The Drew family has established deep roots in Central Texas, which played a large role in the decision to stay. Drew also listened to Louisville in that school's search last month before ultimately passing on that opportunity.

The bromance with Kentucky has become serious enough that KWTX, a local television station in Central Texas, filmed members of Drew's family getting off a private plane with ties to a Kentucky donor that returned from Lexington, Kentucky, on Wednesday evening.

Drew discussed the decision to coach the Wildcats for about a day, as he had long considered Kentucky one of the few jobs he would consider leaving Baylor for.

Drew's decision to remain in Waco leaves Kentucky officials looking for a different class of candidates. Before the job opened, national-title-winning coaches Jay Wright, formerly of Villanova, and UConn's Dan Hurley declined to be interested. Bulls coach Billy Donovan, who won two national titles at Florida, has said publicly that he is committed to Chicago, which plays in the NBA championship game on April 17.

Alabama's Nate Oats also issued a statement that he's not interested. Names like Auburn's Bruce Pearl, Illinois' Brad Underwood, Xavier's Sean Miller, Florida's Todd Golden, Iowa State's TJ Otzelberger and Brigham Young University's Mark Pope appear to be emerging as the next tier.

Drew is not believed to have met Kentucky in person, sources said. But the depth of the relationship with Barnhart did not make that necessary. During the 2021 NCAA Tournament, which was played in a bubble due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barnhart was the tournament committee chairman and watched nearly every Baylor game and practice. Basically, Drew interviewed him for a month three years ago.

Drew is the winningest coach in Baylor history, and one of seven active men's college basketball coaches to have won a national championship. He also led the Bears to their first-ever Big 12 regular season title, finishing first in the conference standings in 2021 and 2022.

The 53-year-old Drew has led one of the greatest rebuilding efforts in the history of college sports since taking over at Baylor in 2003, when he inherited a program mired in scandal. Baylor forward Patrick Dennehy was killed by teammate Carlton Dotson during an altercation, and the ensuing investigation revealed that then-coach Dave Bliss tried to avoid NCAA violations by claiming that Dennehy was dealing drugs in order to pay his tuition.

Further NCAA investigations uncovered a number of serious violations committed by Bliss, who resigned and received a 10-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA. Baylor was subject to probation, significant scholarship cuts, and a ban on non-conference games during the 2005-06 season.

Just two years after his punishment, Drew and Baylor made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years — and the Bears have now gone to 12 of the past 16 NCAA Tournaments. They have won at least one match in five straight tournaments, and have been eliminated in the second round in each of the past three seasons since winning the title.

Prior to taking his position at Baylor, Drew spent one season as head coach at Valparaiso, where he served nine seasons as an assistant coach under his father, Homer. During his only season at the helm, Drew led the Crusaders to 20 wins and the Mid-Continent Conference regular season title.



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