Baylor looks at bright future with Drew at the helm

Jan. 29, 2008

By Steve Wieberg, USA TODAY
Inside a somber conference room in an Indianapolis hotel, the young coach spoke. He was stepping into a tough situation, he told the six men and one woman sitting across from him, but he would make the best of it. There'd be no whining. No excuses.

Gene Marsh, then the chairman of the NCAA's committee on infractions, remembers how impressed he was by both the manner and words of Baylor's Scott Drew that spring day almost three years ago. "His approach was straight up. It was honest and refreshing," Marsh says. "Sometimes, when coaches speak up, they hurt their case.

"He didn't hurt their case, I'll tell you that."

Not then, when the NCAA panel was weighing what penalties to pile atop one of the most damaging and distasteful infractions cases in college history. And not now, as Drew leads Baylor out of that abyss.

A basketball program once staggered by murder, malfeasance and a former coach's treachery has soared -- against all odds -- to near the top of the Big 12 Conference standings and into the national rankings. The Bears take a 16-3 record (4-1 in the Big 12) into a Saturday showdown at No. 10 Texas, their best start since a 1945-46 season that saw them go 24-2 and play into their first NCAA men's tournament.

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