VALPARAISO, Ind. -- Valparaiso University director of athletics Mark LaBarbera announced Tuesday at a press conference on the Valpo campus that Bryce Drew has been hired as the 21st head coach in the history of the Crusader men's basketball program. The announcement comes after Valparaiso University president Mark Heckler announced that Dr. Homer Drew had retired, effective immediately, as the Crusaders' head coach.
"We are pleased to continue to offer quality leadership and consistency within our basketball program by hiring Bryce Drew," said LaBarbera. "Bryce has demonstrated a strong commitment to the University's values and ideals and to the development of student-athletes. His lifelong connection to successful basketball has prepared him well to assume the head coaching role at Valparaiso University."
Bryce Drew has spent the last six seasons as a member of the Valpo coaching staff, including the last five years as associate head coach. He has helped the Crusaders advance to a pair of postseason appearances during his time on the bench, including a berth in the CIT this past season, in which Valpo won 23 games and finished just one game back of the Horizon League regular-season title. Bryce Drew has helped guide Valpo through its transition into a top-10 conference in the Horizon League and will become the fourth new head coach of the Crusader men's basketball program in the last 31 years.
"We are extremely grateful for Homer Drew's 22 years of service to the Valparaiso men's basketball program," said Heckler. "He has been one of our greatest coaches, taking the men's basketball program to unprecedented heights during his tenure. While we are sad to see Homer retire, we are confident that the program is in good hands with Bryce at the helm."
On the court, Bryce Drew was the most decorated player in Valpo men's basketball history. A four-time All-Mid-Continent Conference honoree and two-time Mid-Con Player of the Year, he led the Crusaders on the court to conference regular-season and tournament championships in each of his four seasons. Bryce Drew also experienced three NCAA Tournament appearances, culminating in the 1998 NCAA Tournament, in which he hit 'The Shot' in the first round to defeat Ole Miss at the buzzer and propel Valparaiso to the Sweet 16. After graduating from Valparaiso, he was drafted with the 16th pick of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets and played six seasons in the NBA and one year overseas before returning to the Crusader bench as a coach.
Homer Drew concludes his 22-year tenure at the helm of the Crusader basketball program with a school-record 371 victories, leading Valpo to nine postseason appearances over his final 16 seasons. He closes his coaching career, which also included stints at Bethel College and IU-South Bend, with 640 total victories in 32 seasons, a number that ranked him sixth among active head coaches and 28th overall among coaches with at least 10 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience. Homer Drew guided the Crusaders to eight conference regular-season and tournament titles and won 20 more games in a season 10 times, which include seven trips to the NCAA Tournament.
While Homer Drew has retired from his position as head men's basketball coach, he will stay on within the Valparaiso University athletic department as an associate director of athletics.