Baylor coach Scott Drew can relate to Penn State's Bill O'Brien
It was nearly a decade ago when Scott Drew had the unenviable task of trying to rebuild the mess Dave Bliss left behind at Baylor. It took five years for Drew to get the Bears in the NCAA tournament -- and he feels Penn State has a major advantage over his Baylor program.
|Drew took over at Baylor in 2003 following a murder scandal that rocked the school. (US Presswire)|
If anyone is qualified to give Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien or any of the Nittany Lions coaches advice, it's Baylor's Scott Drew.
Remember, the Bears head coach went through something similar in the wake of the Patrick Dennehy murder in the summer of 2003. He took over a program that was also publicly humiliated, facing what appeared to be a no-win situation early in his tenure.
Former coach Dave Bliss, who encouraged players to lie and paid tuition for two players, was hit with a 10-year "show cause". The school had major scholarship reductions each of Drew's first two seasons, then wasn't allowed to play non-conference games his third year. Drew went 21-53 in his first three seasons.
His first reaction when he heard that Penn State football was hammered with a four-year postseason ban and also docked with scholarship reductions.
"That's tough," he said. "It's going to be a process. It's going to take time for the program to recover, but they'll get back. It's just going to take some time."
Drew said he feels that all of the Penn State programs, even though they weren't hit with sanctions, will feel the impact of the black mark on the football program.
"It affects the entire university," Drew said. "No question."
Drew said he was sought out by Penn State men's basketball coach Pat Chambers on Sunday in Milwaukee while on the road recruiting and his advice was simple.
"I told him to focus on kids that understand Penn State," Drew told CBSSports.com. "Those who live nearby and those who have brothers or sisters who went to Penn State will understand the situation. Those will be the people that will be more receptive to come and play for you. People from the outside are not as apt to go there."
Drew turned it around in his fifth season, when the Bears earned a trip to the NCAA tournament, and have managed to sustain success at a spot where there was basically no tradition. He did it with a group that was heralded and local. Curtis Jerrells, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers were all in-state kids and were critical in Baylor turning it around.
"Playing time was big when we would try and recruit kids," Drew said. "And so was building the program. People around here will always remember Curtis, Henry and Kevin for what they did."
Drew said that over time it'll get easier for O'Brien and the rest of the Penn State coaches and even though the Nittany Lions were hit harder than Baylor basketball, it might be easier to survive and rebuild.
"Penn State football has so much tradition," Drew said. "It should be easier for them to get back quicker. So many kids grow up wanting to play football at Penn State."
But the question now becomes how many of those kids still want to play in Happy Valley.
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