VALPARAISO | Two moments in Bryce Drew's life converged Tuesday morning at a news conference announcing him as Valparaiso University's next men's basketball coach.
The first moment came when he was 14, and the teenager fell in love with Valparaiso the first time he visited the city. The second came during his third year of playing in the NBA when he suddenly had an epiphany that he wanted to become a basketball coach.
"This is a dream day for me," Bryce Drew said. "I've dreamed of becoming the head coach at Valparaiso. I was extremely thrilled to be able to move back to Valpo six years ago, to the place that I had grown to love since I was 14."
Bryce Drew was named Tuesday as the 21st head coach in the program's history after his legendary father, Homer Drew, retired from the same position in order to become the associate athletic director at VU. Bryce Drew has been on the coaching staff for the past six years and has served as the associate head coach since 2006.
The new coach wasted little time in laying out his expectations for his time at Valparaiso.
"My vision is very simple," Bryce Drew said. "To my dad, I'm extremely proud of what you have accomplished here. To my brother (Baylor head coach Scott Drew), I'm very proud of what you've accomplished here. My dream is to take Valpo to the next level."
Scott Drew was Valparaiso's head coach for the 2002-03 season after his father retired from coaching the first time.
The announcement to promote Bryce Drew to head coach was made by Valparaiso Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera along with University President Mark Heckler. Both men remarked there was no national search for another candidate and both were comfortable with Bryce Drew as the successor to his father.
"President Heckler and I have had several conversations about what our basketball succession plan would look like as we knew that it was getting to the time that Homer Drew would be ready to step away," LaBarbera said. "We looked at a number of different models, and we found that schools that are very successful at our level have a clear plan of internal succession. This was the best road for us to go down."
LaBarbera noted Bryce Drew has yet to sign a formal contract, but that those details would be worked out in the coming weeks. Bryce Drew gave no indication as to any staff changes with his assistants, only to say he was in the process of evaluating the staff to make those decisions.
Homer Drew said he began thinking about stepping away at the end of April and that he has full confidence Bryce is ready for the challenge of being a Division I head coach. Once he decided to retire, Homer Drew left it up to LaBarbera and Heckler to make the final decision on whether or not Bryce would have the job.
"Once Coach Drew announced that he was ready to step down, he certainly had an opinion (on his successor), but he stepped back and allowed us to do our jobs," Heckler said. "We chose not to (participate in a national search), and we weighed all the pros and cons of that."