Bryce Drew is leaving the broadcast table and returning to the sidelines. Grand Canyon University announced Drew as its new men's basketball coach on Tuesday, just a year after Vanderbilt fired Drew following his three-year tenure with the Commodores in the SEC.
Drew led Valparaiso to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in his five seasons as the program's head coach before accepting the Vanderbilt job in 2016. At GCU, he replaces former Phoenix Suns star Dan Majerle, who led the Antelopes to four straight 20-win seasons before going 13-17 this season.
"It already has a reputation for a great passion for basketball," Drew said in a GCU announcement. "I want to come in and win championships. I want to be able to get the school its first berth in the NCAA tournament. We want to recruit and bring on incredible student-athletes that are great representatives of Grand Canyon and the mission."
Vanderbilt welcomed three 247Sports top-100 players in the 2018 recruiting class, including eventual NBA lottery pick Darius Garland. But a knee injury ended Garland's freshman season after just five games, and the Commodores went 0-18 in SEC play without him. Drew was let go, and spent this past season as an analyst on the ESPN family of networks as rumors circulated of his desire to return to coaching.
GCU has developed a reputation for being one of the toughest places to play in the mid-major ranks. The Antelopes only became eligible for the WAC and NCAA Tournaments in 2018 after completing the transition from Division II to Division I, and have made their NCAA Tournament aspirations clear. The program lost in the WAC Tournament championship game in both 2018 and 2019, falling one game short of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
"We are unbelievably excited to have Bryce Drew lead our basketball program into its next phase of development," GCU president Brian Mueller said in the university announcement. "Bryce built a very successful mid-major program at Valparaiso and proved he can recruit at a high level at Vanderbilt but, most importantly, he embodies the Christian mission of the University in how he lives his life both on and off the court."