Despite the craziness that is happening in the world, there are still some exciting things happening in the world of WAC Hoops. Both GCU and newcomer Tarleton State have made a big splash in the head coaching department over the past two weeks.
On March 17, GCU introduced Bryce Drew as its new head coach. Drew replaces Dan Majerle, who was reportedly fired after going 136-89 in seven years at GCU. In all reality, the Lopes didn’t renew Majerle’s contract after GCU went 13-17 in 2019-20.
Drew comes in with head coaching experience. The former Valparaiso hero, helped his Alma Mater make the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2015. Drew also led Vanderbilt to the NCAA tournament in 2017. In fact, Valparaiso won 30 games in 2015-16 on its way to a runner-up finish in the NIT.
“When I was thinking about coaching, I made a list and ironically when the the Grand Canyon opportunity came, it’s amazing how many things on that list described Grand Canyon,” Drew said to the AZ Central.
Drew has some NCAA Tournament heroics himself. With Valparaiso trailing 69-67 to Mississippi in the 1998 NCAA Tournament, Drew collected a pass and nailed a long 3-pointer to give Valpo the big win.
20 years ago today, Bryce Drew hit “The Shot” to give 13-seed Valparaiso the upset win over 4-seed Ole Miss
For some, Ole Miss was one of the trendy sleeper Final Four pick out of the Midwest bracket. pic.twitter.com/bvEWIRKinV
— Freezing Cold Takes (@OldTakesExposed) March 13, 2018
Drew is a good recruiter with NCAA Tournament experience both as a player and coach. Will he get GCU over the hump? It will remain to be seen. Either way, this is a great hire by GCU.
Tarleton State Lands Big Name Head Coach
Let’s give the newest members of the WAC an A+ already. The Tarleton State administration made a big splash this week. Billy Gillispie is the new head coach of the Tarleton State men’s basketball team. Some might ask who is this guy? Well, let’s talk about him for a minute. Gillispie has been a head coach at four Division I schools and a junior college. The new head coach took Texas A&M to the Sweet 16 in 2007, and had coaching stints at Texas Tech and Kentucky, along with UTEP from 2002-2004.
Yes, his most recent Division I job was at Texas Tech for the 2011-12 season. And yes, allegations of player mistreatment at Texas Tech came about. But, Gillispie is a coach that knows how to recruit, knows how to win and will help Tarleton State in its transition phase to the Division I level.
“I would enjoy another challenge,” Gillispie said to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’ve got a great job here at Ranger, but every coach wants to win the national championship. The national championship is Division I.”
Billy Gillispie named Tarleton head men’s basketball coach https://t.co/mzPFJYHZA9
— Tarleton Athletics (@TarletonSports) March 30, 2020
These are some big names in the head coaching ranks in the WAC. It is a time of uncertainty in the World. But, the world keeps moving forward as do WAC schools. The head coaching carousel is ever changing. But, right now, with the signings of Drew and Gillispie, the head coaching ranks in the WAC just got a little better.