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Interview With Scott Drew

Aired August 25, 2003 - 20:39   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: In the word of college sports, it is always or almost always difficult to take over for a coach who was fired or forced to resign. But for the new basketball coach at Baylor University, the challenge is especially difficult.
Scott Drew will lead a program shaken not only by charges of NCAA violations, but by the murder of a star player and allegations another player was the killer. How do you rebuild a program with problems like that? Well, the new Baylor coach, Scott Drew, joins us from Chicago for an exclusive interview tonight.

Welcome and congratulations.

SCOTT DREW, BAYLOR BASKETBALL COACH: Well, thank you very much for having me on, Paula.

ZAHN: Our pleasure. So coach, what is it you think you've gotten yourself into here?

DREW: Well, I can tell you what, you talk to the people down there, you talk to the leaders and you actually see the resources and the facilities on the campus. Then you talk to the players and, you know what, much different than the perception you would have without having that. I mean, the people down there are phenomenal and I'm really excited to be working with them.

ZAHN: You left a very successful basketball program at Valparaiso University. Why risk your young career by stepping into what many of your colleagues call an absolute snake pit?

DREW: Well, a challenge is nice, that's the first thing. But the second thing is, what we have done at Valparaiso University is what I think we can do at Baylor University. Valpar (ph) and Baylor are very similar schools. Both very academic oriented, both very Christian-based values and good people.

And we were able to take a Valparaiso University program and really make it to the top echelon of division one basketball. If you look at it, we won nine straight conference championships or conference tournament championships. And only Kentucky is the only other school to have done that in the last nine years. So hopefully one day that will be the same thing at Baylor.

ZAHN: And as you weighed whether to take this job, how much did you learn about the problems at Baylor University and its -- as related to the basketball program? DREW: Well, like most people, I viewed the situation from afar. But after just five, ten minutes with the school's leaders -- President Sloan (ph) is a phenomenal guy, and we're so lucky to have him at Baylor University.

To give you an idea, he has a plan called 2012. And there is approximately $200 million of construction going on at the university to be completed by year 2012. They have actually $103 million science facility, over 500,000 square feet.

I mean, so many positive things going on down there. And just that hasn't been portrayed. And I look forward to working with our basketball team. And hopefully the next big story coming out of Baylor will be the basketball team in the future.

ZAHN: Although there are some people on campus that predict some dark days to come, what is the worst thing you think might happen to the school as a result of NCAA action?

DREW: Well, you never know for sure until the final ruling comes down. But normally the NCAA likes to have the schools govern themselves and they like to have the schools put the punishment upon themselves. And that's what Baylor did.

And to give you an idea, when this whole thing started, President Sloan (ph) said, "If I had a son on the team, what would I want him to be able to do?" And that is to be able to transfer and play right away. So what he did was he seeked a waiver from the NCAA that was unprecedented before to allow people to leave the school and play at any other university right away.

And that's a pretty big step forward. And, again, he did that because he wanted the players to have that opportunity. So the self- imposed sanctions that we put on ourselves hopefully will be enough.

ZAHN: And if you feel comfortable telling us tonight, just a final thought on some of the allegations against Coach Bliss and what he is accused of doing.

DREW: Well, actually, I wish I had more information on that. I really don't from the standpoint Coach Bliss, knew him as -- occasionally I would see him out recruiting and he would say "Hi," and he seemed pleasant. But as far as the allegations and stuff, I haven't spent as much time staying up on top of that.

I've spent a lot more time trying to find out if there is any eligible players out there, because we sure could use someone. Paula, do you have any eligibility left?

ZAHN: I think I wouldn't qualify for your team. But I have a six foot four and a half inch brother who, if you take 40-year-old guys, might be interested. That's all I can help you with tonight, Scott.

DREW: Well, thank you for the help.

ZAHN: All right. Good luck to you, Scott. We'll be following what happens down at Baylor. I appreciate you coming on tonight.

DREW: Well, thank you very much. And you're always welcome.

ZAHN: Thanks.


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