Baylor men’s basketball coach Scott Drew put the finishing touch on one of the greatest rebuilding jobs in college history in 2021.
Drew took Baylor from the tragedy and scandal of the Dave Bliss era earlier in the century to an NCAA national title. In a dominating tourney performance, Baylor won each game by at least nine points, defeating Gonzaga 86-70 in the national title game.
Now Drew has written a book, co-authored by Don Yaeger, entitled “The Road to JOY,” using the team motto from the championship season.
Drew recently talked about the book, which was released by online retailers and in bookstores earlier this month, recently during the recent Big 12 meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz.
What was the process that goes into writing a book?
Drew: “Don Yeager made it extremely easy. An 11-time New York Times best-selling author from dealing with John Wooden to Walter Payton to Nick Saban to Coach K. If it were just my book, it would have been a bunch of pictures and couple of sentences. That was a blessing. My dad [Homer] had written a book after we went to the Sweet 16 [at Valparaiso]. The difference is when he wrote that book, we still have them all in the basement. You have to have the right team around you just like coaching. Don and his team have been tremendous, as well as Harper Collins, the publishing company. ”
What did you learn about yourself during the writing process?
Drew: “In coaching, you’re always thinking ahead and you don’t have a chance to be able to reflect. A lot of stories in the book come from coaches that were here when we first started in 2003. Reading about the memories that they remember were so enjoyable, inspiring and appreciative on my part because unless you have a bunch of talented players and a great staff and administration, you don’t get to be put in a position to write a book and be successful. To relive some of those memories… Hopefully the reason the book was written was twofold. One was to honor the platform that God gave us. Two was to thank the Baylor nation and family allowing them to be able to just see behind the scenes what happened and what happened. Hopefully it will be some motivation and inspiration for people out there that are in difficult situations or hard jobs. Why? Because we all go through ups and downs. ”
What did you think when the first book arrived in the mail and you got a chance to look at it?
Drew: I looked at the cover and I was like, the airbrushing was amazing, because I looked pretty good. It’s not my book, it’s our book. It’s a great story of just what a bunch of people were able to do in a situation that seemed tough at the beginning and ended with the championship. All the hard work and sweat and tears that go into that.
Drew: “’The Road to JOY’ Well, you know, it’s the road to the Final Four always. So this is the road to JOY – Jesus, others, yourself – and just kind of keeping those priorities in life at the end of the day. Life is short, and you want to impact as many people as you can. We try to be as positive as we can. Hopefully we inspire, motivate and help people achieve their goals and dreams. ”
Were there any moments during the process that were especially personal to you?
Drew: “When Don would tell me what some of the other coaches remembered or what some of the other players remembered. Sometimes you might have an impact on someone and not even know you had an impact on them. Then when you look back and you’re so appreciative to be able to be there in that situation. Life’s a journey and there’s so many people you’re able to touch and be a part of their lives. I coach because I like to help others and to see the excitement of people reaching goals and dreams. But also at Baylor we prepare champions for life so it’s academic and spiritual and character formation and athletic. To hear their stories, it’s really inspiring and motivating to continue to pour in and try to do all that we can to help young people. Especially in today’s society, which is, I think a lot tougher than we all grew up in because everything you do is out there for the world to judge and see. ”
What about the changes coming in the Big 12 with four new members (BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF) coming in and Texas and Oklahoma leaving?
Drew: “One thing in today’s society is that change is inevitable and you better embrace it because everything is fluid in life. You look at all the different changes we’ve gone through in the Big 12. I also look at such a blessing to be able to compete against the coaches and the programs we’ve had. That’s what’s made Big 12 basketball the best conference in the country for the last eight or nine years analytically because of all the people that have been in the room. Iron sharpens iron. The great thing is with the four new members coming in, they’ve run the numbers. It’s still the toughest conference in the country. ”
Kansas coach Bill Self was just saying that you could take the Jayhawks out of it and the Big 12 would still be a great conference.
Drew: “And that’s what makes a great conference. It’s the top to bottom. There’s no off night. That’s the secret to our success with our league. I mean, it’s like a great meal. If you just have one big dish and you have nothing else, I mean it’s not a good meal. So I mean with us, it’s everybody pitching in and doing their part and because of that we had one of the best NET ratings in modern history and in our conference you look at back-to-back national champs. But the year before because of COVID, us and Kansas who have been No. 1 seeds. The year before that Texas Tech almost won a championship. I mean you could say four years in a row possibly. I mean, just an amazing feat. Before that it was Oklahoma with Buddy Hield and Lon Krueger. Just so much success. You know in the South, people talk more about football but basketball in the Big 12 has been unbelievable. ”
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