Baylor’s Scott Drew has a winning culture built in Waco

Baylor, Gonzaga play for National Championship on Monday night

Baylor head coach Scott Drew watches from the sideline during the first half of a men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament semifinal game against Houston, Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

INDIANAPOLIS – We’ve reached the final day of this NCAA tournament. Out of the millions of brackets submitted, 16% had Baylor and Gonzaga as the last teams standing.

Bears head coach Scott Drew has built an elite program but he’s also put an emphasis on a “culture of joy” which has been his focus since he arrived in Waco 18 years ago. He arrived with a plan to build a program that was at rock bottom into a national champion. His top priority was to get it done the right way on and off the court.

“We’ve been ranked No. 1 three out of the last five years,” said Drew. “All the players these last 18 years are a direct reflection of why we are where we are today. They mentor our young people and because of that we have a culture of joy which is a winning culture.”

The biggest piece to the Drew plan has been the buy-in from the players.

“All of the players here, we want to win it for Coach Drew,” Baylor guard Davion Mitchell said Sunday. “We want to win it for him because of what he’s done for us. He’s been through a lot.”

Drew’s impact on the program is been felt far beyond wins and Final Four appearances. He’s a mentor to many, including Baylor football coach Dave Aranda, who’s in Indianapolis to cheer them on.

“I got here at Baylor, and Scott has been such a good friend and mentor,” said Aranda. “We constantly stay in touch, and he’s offered so much encouragement to me and our program. I’m here and ready to cheer these guys on. It’s an exciting time for Baylor.”

Drew has been a great fit in Waco. His success has often led to job opportunities elsewhere, but he truly believes Baylor was his calling back in 2003 and there’s more work to do including winning a national championship with a win over unbeaten Gonzaga.