VALPARAISO | The last time Valparaiso men’s basketball earned a No. 14 seed in the NCAA tournament was when the Crusaders played No. 3 Arizona in 1996.
It was the first time then-coach Homer Drew would take a team to the NCAA tournament and he did it with his sons, assistant coach Scott and star player Bryce.
Little did anyone know the two sons would eventually coach their ways back to the Big Dance.
When the No. 14 Crusaders take on No. 3 Michigan State in Auburn Hills, Mich., on Thursday, the Drew family will become the first father-son-son trio to lead teams to the NCAA tournament.
“I had no idea that we were the first,” Homer said on Sunday at Valparaiso’s NCAA Selection Show party. “The wonderful thing that all fathers are concerned with is their sons find something they enjoy doing. I didn’t think it would be basketball, but both Scott and Bryce gravitated toward the game and that was wonderful because I was able to have my two sons a little bit longer.”
Scott Drew served as an assistant under his father for nine years and went to five NCAA tournaments before being hired at Baylor in 2003 and leading the Bears to three tournament appearances, including two Elite Eights.
“This is a tribute to our dad because he always had us around him,” Scott said. “Any son that wants to be like their father means their father is a great role model. I wanted to help him in any way possible.”
The Drew family is not the first trio of coaches to lead teams to the postseason, but they are the first to do so in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Former Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett coached multiple teams in the tournament while son Tony coached Washington State in the postseason in 2007. Daughter Kathi has taken multiple teams to the women’s tournament, including Indiana in 2002.
Longtime coach Eddie Sutton coached four different schools in the tournament while son Scott led former Valparaiso-rival Oral Roberts to the Big Dance three consecutive seasons beginning in 2006. Sean Sutton coached at Oklahoma State for two years, but never got the Cowboys further than the National Invitational Tournament.
“It’s pretty neat that my father got to do it as well as my brother and now I’m getting the chance,” Bryce said. “It’s a pretty cool accomplishment for our family.”
Now that Bryce has transitioned into the family business, the question arises as to when the brothers might face eachother on the sidelines. Both Bryce and Scott use the word “miserable” to describe what their feelings would be like if they had to play one another.
“Last year, if we would’ve gotten into the tournament it was looking like the seeds would’ve matched up and we could’ve played each other,” Bryce said. “We’re both so competitive, but we both get more excited when the other brother wins than when we win. If we win, I’d feel bad because he’d be getting criticized and he’d feel bad if he beat us.”
Homer has long said he’d welcome a game between his two sons only if it were held at the Final Four. For now the patriarch of college basketball’s latest version of a First Family is happy to be able to watch both of his sons' experience recent postseason success.
“It’s a thrill when either team goes to the NCAA,” Homer said. “If you think about it, not many teams really get to experience that. It’s a good rewarding moment for the team and the coaches. I feel very thrilled for each of them.”