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Scott Drew declines head coaching position at Kentucky

Jack Weaver
Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart, middle, watches the Kentucky vs. Evansville home opener baseball game on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 6-3. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

It’s official: Scott Drew will remain at Baylor after declining the offer to be the head coach of Kentucky men’s basketball.

Drew was offered the position just hours after the official resignation of John Calipari via a heartfelt goodbye video the hall of famer posted on social media on Tuesday, April 9.

On April, 10, the University of Arkansas announced the official hire of Calipari as the Razorbacks’ 14th men’s basketball head coach with a five-year contract and a salary beginning at $7 million per season.

Rumors of Drew being offered the position spread quickly after the departure of Calipari, and the possibility seemed all the more likely because of Drew’s friendship with Kentucky’s athletic director Mitch Barnhart.

Drew’s family reportedly flew to Lexington on Wednesday and spent the day exploring the city, but with three kids going to school in Waco, Texas — two in high school and one at Baylor — it’s safe to assume the move was not super convenient for the family.

According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, “Drew deliberated on the decision to coach the Wildcats for about a day, as he had long considered Kentucky one of the few jobs he would consider leaving Baylor for.”

Ultimately, Drew will stay in Waco after spending the past 20 years as the head coach of men’s basketball at Baylor.

During his time, Drew did something that seemed nearly impossible: he built up a program laying in shambles at rock bottom and, after a long and arduous road, led them to a national title in 2021.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari talks to his team before the Kentucky men’s basketball game vs. Vanderbilt on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 93-77. Photo by Abbey Cutrer | Staff (Abbey Cutrer)

In June of 2003, Baylor men’s basketball sophomore Patrick Dennehy was shot and murdered by teammate Carlton Dotson.

The chain of events that followed saw Baylor’s coach, Dave Bliss, step down after NCAA investigations found countless violations and scandal within the program.

With just three months before the first game of the season, there did not exist a more broken and dauntless coaching position waiting to be filled.

Enter Drew, who arrived in Waco as the program lay in ruins. Self-imposed university probations, scholarship limitations, countless amounts of NCAA penalties, bans from non-conference play and recruiting restrictions were just a handful of the daily challenges Drew had to work with.

It was a difficult first couple of years as one would expect, with an 8-21 record in the 2003-04 season, 9-19 in the following season and ranking last in the conference in 2006.

After four years of adversity, Drew’s hard work started to prevail in 2007 when Baylor went 21-11 and made it to the NCAA Tournament.

The next decade for Baylor and Drew saw significant and steady growth. The Bears tied for second in the Big 12 in 2010, followed by an incoming roster that was ranked tenth in the preseason AP Poll.

Before long, Drew won his 202nd game at Baylor in the 2013-14 season, making him the winningest coach in program history.

The 2020-21 season, featuring Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and Adam Flagler, saw the program win its first regular season conference title and then, weeks later, the Baylor Bears took down undefeated Gonzaga to become the 2021 NCAA national champions.

Since that dreadful day in 2003, Drew raised up Baylor to an elite men’s basketball school and plans on staying there for the foreseeable future.

Kentucky will continue its search as rumors of Rick Pitino, Billy Donovan and Dan Hurley stay running wild in Lexington.

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Abbey Cutrer, Editor-in-Chief

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