Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew is believed to be a candidate for the Georgia Tech opening. A question to ask: Would he come?
In recent years, Drew, 41, has been among the hottest candidates among mid-major coaches, leading the Crusaders to a 124-49 record (.717 winning percentage) in five seasons. The team has won four regular-season championships in the Horizon League and advanced twice to the NCAA tournament. Thursday night, Valparaiso lost to George Washington in the finals of the NIT in New York.
A statement last March to the Times of Northwest Indiana, as the Mississippi State rumors swirled, is intriguing.
Drew said that he loved his team, planned to be back and that “it would take something really special for any of that to change.”
Is Tech really special?
Obviously, it wouldn’t take a Tech supporter long to answer in the affirmative. The team has had periods of sustained success and demonstrated that it can win at the highest levels in arguably the most competitive conference in the country. The school is in a recruiting hotbed and located in an attractive city. The arena, practice facility and locker room all make the grade, or better. The value of the degree compares with just about any college in the country.
But would Drew agree?
Perhaps to him, special is a school in the Big Ten, where he could continue to operate his Chicago recruiting base. Or a school that can offer more money than Tech likely could. Or a team that is ready to win from the first season, which Tech doesn’t appear to be. Or a combination of all these and other factors.
Another factor is that he is reportedly a candidate for the opening at Vanderbilt. Would it be easier to win and consistently reach the NCAA tournament there than at Tech? The Commodores were a regular NCAA tournament participant during former coach Kevin Stallings’ tenure, which ended when he took the Pittsburgh job. Vanderbilt likely could offer a larger salary than Tech. Stallings reportedly earned $2.1 million this past season at Vanderbilt, nearly double what Gregory made.