NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt has lured Bryce Drew away from his alma mater at Valparaiso to coach the Commodores men's basketball team.
The Commodores announced the hiring Wednesday with a series of tweets on their Twitter account starting with video of their mascot welcoming Drew at the airport. That was followed by a photo of Drew with athletic director David Williams and then a post asking fans to welcome their new coach.
Drew will be Vanderbilt's 27th head coach and will be introduced at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
"Our goal was to identify a proven head coach capable of exciting Commodore Nation and perhaps most importantly, able to mirror Vanderbilt's values and aspirations," Williams said in a statement. "With Bryce Drew, we were able to check all those boxes. We are thrilled to welcome Coach Drew and his family to the Vanderbilt community and the great city of Nashville."
Drew, 41, just won a school-record 30 games in his fifth season as head coach at Valparaiso, which ended with a loss to George Washington in the NIT championship. Drew is 124-49 overall with two NCAA Tournament berths in his tenure along with four Horizon League regular season titles and two league tournament championships.
He takes over a Vanderbilt program that went 19-14 under Kevin Stallings, who left for Pittsburgh on March 27. Stallings was the all-time winningest coach at Vanderbilt going 332-220 yet with only seven NCAA Tournament berths over his 17 seasons at the only private university in the Southeastern Conference.
"We are so excited to be part of the Vanderbilt family. Go Commodore nation," Drew said in a video shared by Vanderbilt.
The Commodores are poised to return three starters after point guard Wade Baldwin IV announced Tuesday he is passing up his final two seasons for the NBA draft. Junior center Damian Jones said he would enter the draft before the season started.
Not only did Drew coach at his alma mater, the former Indiana Mr. Basketball played at Valparaiso and helped the Crusaders to four Mid-Continent Conference regular season titles and three NCAA Tournament berths. He hit the shot in 1998 to beat Mississippi in the first round, giving Valparaiso its first NCAA Tournament win in school history on the Crusaders' way to the Sweet 16.
Drew was drafted by Houston with the 16th pick overall in 1998 and played in the NBA six seasons with the Rockets, Chicago and the Charlotte and New Orleans Hornets.