Grand Canyon University didn't wait long to open up its head coaching job, firing Dan Majerle just hours after the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament. Today, they found his replacement, in another big name that should be familiar to basketball fans: Bryce Drew.
Drew first broke into real public consciousness in 1998. As a guard for No. 13 Valparaiso, he drilled a game-winning three, sending the team past No. 4 Ole Miss in the NCAA Tournament. "The Shot" is a mainstay on any highlight of the greatest NCAA Tournament moments.
He became the head coach of his alma mater in 2011. The Crusaders reached the postseason in each of his five years there, with two NCAA Tournament berths. The team went 26-8 in 2012-13 and 28-6 in 2014-15, going out in the Round of 64 each time. Is 2015-16, he led the team to a 30-6 record and runner-up in the NIT, parlaying it into the job at Vanderbilt.
The SEC was less kind to Drew. In his first year, the Commodores went 19-16, reaching the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Things cratered from there. After 12-20 and 9-23 seasons in 2017-18 and 18-19, which included an 0-18 SEC record in that final season, he was let go. After a year away, he has a new opportunity with Grand Canyon, a small but ambitious program in the WAC.
Grand Canyon recently moved up to Division I, joining the WAC ahead of the 2013-14 season. Majerle guided the program through that process, going 136–89 in seven seasons. That included four 20+ win seasons, three trips to the CIT Tournament, and two to the CBI Tournament.
Majerle's firing after the 13-17 2019-20 campaign signals that the Antelopes have much higher expectations. In the school's release, it cites Bryce Drew's experience both building a mid-major power and recruiting power conference players in his last two stops.
"We are unbelievably excited to have Bryce Drew lead our basketball program into its next phase of development," GCU President Brian Mueller said. "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."
We'll see if he's the guy to take the 'Lopes to the next level.