By Chad Bonham
2014 NCAA Tournament: Baylor University
On August 8, 2003, Dave Bliss resigned his position as Baylor’s men’s basketball coach under pressure from the school’s athletic department. His tenure had been severely marred by a tragic scandal and numerous NCAA violations, which resulted in some of the harshest penalties ever handed down to a Division I program. If Baylor was going get back to prominence on the national stage, it was going to be a long, steep climb.
Enter Scott Drew, a young aspiring coach from the Midwest with a notable pedigree as the son of legendary head coach Homer Drew. It didn’t make sense to many why he would leave Valparaiso after just one year at the helm in order to take what—at least in the moment—was deemed a dead end job.
It took a while for Drew’s enthusiasm to catch on. While dealing with the loss of scholarships and post-season bans, Baylor slowly fought to regain a sense of normalcy. After three losing seasons, however, Drew recruited and coached the program back to life. Five years into his tenure, he led the Bears to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years and would repeat that effort five times over the next eight years.
But despite reaching the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2012, it was the 2014 season that Drew often views as one of his most successful. Throughout that up-and-down campaign, he experienced numerous victories off the court and in the lives of several players. It was the outflow of one of Drew’s greatest desires—to see players and coaches come to a full understanding of one New Testament passage in particular.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“Coaches, athletes, we always try to earn everything,” Drew told FoxSports.com. “So it can open guys’ eyes sometimes when the they see things like Ephesians 2:8-9 where it says we’re saved by grace through faith, and that it’s a free gift and nothing we’ve done.”
This devotional is brought to you by Museum of the Bible, a 430,000 square foot museum being constructed 3 blocks south of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is set to open in November of 2017.
(Photos: Courtesy of Baylor Athletics; Basketball Travelers Inc.)