VU coach Homer Drew to announce retirement; his son Bryce to take over

2011-05-16T20:00:00Z 2011-12-28T19:15:09Z VU coach Homer Drew to announce retirement; his son Bryce to take overBy Paul Oren Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 16, 2011 8:00 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | Homer Drew will announce his retirement as Valparaiso men's basketball coach on Tuesday morning, according to sources close to the program.

His son Bryce Drew will be named the next head coach at a morning news conference at the Harre Union on Valparaiso's campus.

Homer Drew will retire after 22 seasons at Valparaiso and 32 years of coaching overall. Drew's 640 career victories were good for sixth all-time among active coaches at the close of the 2010-11 season.

Bryce Drew joined the VU coaching staff prior to the 2005-06 season and was named associate head coach the following season.

Tuesday's announcement will include Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler and athletic director Mark LaBarbera.

"Coach Drew always did what he honestly thought was right," former Valparaiso guard Brandon McPherson said. "Regardless of the situation, and not always with basketball, he really taught me what was right in life. He taught me what it was like to be a man."

Homer arrived in Valparaiso in a big way in 1988 when the Crusaders shocked Notre Dame 71-68 in the "Miracle on Union Street."

Despite the win over the Irish, Drew's early squads struggled and the Crusaders suffered five straight losing seasons under Drew until a breakout 20-8 year in 1993-94.

The following year Bryce turned down offers from bigger schools to play for his father and begin a family tradition that involved the NCAA tournament. After disappointing losses to Arizona and Boston College in the Big Dance, Bryce captured the imagination of a nation when he hit one of the most iconic buzzer-beaters in NCAA history which led the Crusaders to a 70-69 victory over Ole Miss. Two days later, Valparaiso upset Florida State and the Crusaders were headed to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history.

The Crusaders fell to Rhode Island the next weekend, but VU was on the national map. Despite losing Bryce to the NBA, Homer did perhaps one of his finest coaching jobs in leading a freshmen-laden team back to the NCAA tournament.

The class known as "The Young Guns" made the post season in three out of its four years, culminating in a 83-68 loss to Kentucky in the 2002 NCAA tournament after setting a school record with 25 victories. Two months later, Homer stepped aside to hand over the reins to his son Scott.

As Scott coached the Crusaders to the NIT in 2002-03, Homer worked as a special assistant to the president for university advancement at VU. When Scott left to take over the struggling Baylor program, Homer returned to the bench in 2003-04, as well as to the NCAA tournament for the final time.

Since coming back to the Crusaders, Homer has led the squad to the postseason on three different occasions, including trips to the NCAA tournament, Collegiate Basketball Invitational and the CollegeInsider.com Postseason tournament.

Homer helped oversee a successful transition to the Horizon League over the past four years and the longtime coach was honored this season when the school named the court at the Athletics-Recreation Center after him.

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