March Madness has Drew brothers’ coaching patriarch jetting across the country

Mar 23, 2024, 9:00 PM

Bryce Drew...

Head coach Bryce Drew of the Grand Canyon Antelopes looks on during practice ahead of the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on March 21, 2024 in Spokane, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Former Valparaiso legend Homer Drew is racking up frequent flyer miles crossing the country to support his sons while they coach in the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Scott and Bryce Drew are trying to lead their teams into the Sweet 16. Their 79-year-old father watched Bryce get his first NCAA win when Grand Canyon beat Saint Mary’s late Friday night in Spokane, Washington.

Then Homer Drew flew Saturday to Memphis, where he planned to watch Scott coach Baylor on Sunday.

Asked how his father was getting to Memphis, Scott joked: “Bus.”

That would be a 2,000-mile road trip. Homer flew commercial.

“He’s probably somewhere over Oklahoma right now,” Scott said Saturday afternoon.

Supporting his sons is just part of the coaching family’s legacy, now in its second generation.

Homer led Valparaiso for 22 years, going 236-184 with his own Sweet 16 berth. Both of his sons worked at Valpo during the early stages of their coaching careers, and Scott, now 53, has a national championship at Baylor in 2021 as the highlight of his 22 seasons with the Bears.

“So no pressure on little brother with all they have done,” Bryce said with a smile.

As legendary as their father’s career was at Valpo, Bryce holds the Crusaders’ singular highlight. His 3-pointer as time expired in the 1998 NCAA Tournament knocked off Mississippi and helped his father get to that lone Sweet 16.

Today, it’s not about converting a winning shot for the brothers Drew. It’s about drawing up winning plays.

That leaves their father pulling together the logistics of getting from Spokane to Memphis. The schedule didn’t help, with both sons’ teams opening Friday, forcing their father to choose. He was in Spokane for Grand Canyon’s second-half burst that led to a 75-66 win over fifth-seeded Saint Mary’s.

Scott even bemoaned the late finish. Cheering his brother to a big victory cut into his sleep.

Then Homer boarded a plane for Memphis, where Baylor will try to snap a two-game skid in the second round against No. 6 seed Clemson. That’s despite Scott telling his father to stay in Spokane.

“I’m sure he’ll have his notes for me when he arrives,” Scott said.

All the years of coaching experience means the Drews have seen plenty of tests, challenges and scenarios. Bryce, 49, relies on his brother’s knowledge of teams with varying styles and called that sounding board and bank of knowledge “a blessing.”

“So to get his input and his advice really helps me,” Bryce said of his older brother.

During games, Scott works to shut out the noise so he can concentrate on Baylor and any adjustments he needs to make.

That will be crucial in the second round. Scott’s third-seeded Bears tip off in Memphis an hour before his brother chases his first Sweet 16 berth against No. 4 seed Alabama in the West Region. The rest of the family can check scores or watch that game on their phones in either arena.

Not Scott. He tries to ignore everybody, especially people yelling things he doesn’t want to hear. He knows who he will listen to once the game is over.

“Then I hear his voice after the game on what we should have done,” Scott said of his father.


AP Sports Writer Tim Booth contributed to this report.

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