VALPARAISO — Valparaiso University men’s basketball coach Bryce Drew is expected to be named to the same position at Vanderbilt according to multiple sources close to the program.
A source familiar with the situation said it was “100 percent confirmed” that Drew would be named the new head coach at Vanderbilt after a deal is finalized. Multiple national reports circulated throughout Monday morning which linked Drew to Vanderbilt.
Messages left with Drew went unreturned on Monday.
Drew has long been a sought-after coaching candidate each year since he took over the Valparaiso program in 2011. Drew was given a contract extension in 2012 following reported interviews with Mississippi State and Tulsa, and he was given a new 10-year contract in late 2013. Drew was once again pursued by Tulsa in 2014, and by DePaul and Iowa State in 2015.
At every turn Drew has reiterated his love for Valparaiso and that it would take something “very special” to leave his alma mater. When asked last week about coaching rumors regarding St. Louis, Pitt and Georgia Tech, Drew didn’t deviate from his script.
“I love being (at Valparaiso),” Drew said before the team’s trip to New York for the NIT tournament championship. “Like I’ve said before, it would take something very special to have me leave.”
The Vanderbilt position opened up when former coach Kevin Stallings left to take over Pitt last week. Stallings went 332-220 in 17 seasons with the Commodores and led the Nashville-based program to seven NCAA tournament appearances, including a spot in the First Four this season. Vanderbilt is a private institution and competes in the Southeastern Conference with the likes of Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee.
Drew took over Valparaiso in 2011 and has led the Crusaders to four Horizon League regular-season titles and two NCAA tournament appearances. Drew has a career record of 124-48 and helped guide Valparaiso to a runner-up finish in the National Invitation Tournament this season.
There has been a Drew with his name on the door of the Valparaiso basketball program every day since Homer Drew was hired prior to the start of the 1988-89 season. Homer Drew retired in 2002, giving way to son Scott on the same day. When Scott Drew left to take over Baylor in August of 2003, Homer stepped back in as the head coach and then hired Bryce to his staff two seasons later. Homer retired once again in May 2011 and Valparaiso director of athletics Mark LaBarbera announced Bryce Drew as the successor the same day.
It is unclear how much, if any, of the current Valparaiso staff will remain with the Crusaders or if assistants Roger Powell, Luke Gore or Matt Lottich would follow Drew to Vanderbilt.
There also remains the question of Alec Peters. The star junior is set to graduate this spring and will likely have a long line of suitors vying for his services. Graduate students can transfer and have immediate eligibility.