Thursday was a sad day for anyone cheering on the Bears. The men’s basketball team, going into the NCAA Tournament as three-seed, was highly favored to win the second round. The upset was upsetting and unexpected to coaches, players and fans.
That being said, the fan response on social media in regard to Baylor head coach Scott Drew was uncalled for and tacky. Almost the instant R.J. Hunter hit the game-winning three-pointer for Georgia State, Baylor fans hit Twitter with venom aimed at Drew. Tweets ranged from calling Drew a terrible, overrated coach to calling for his termination. While the hateful tweets came from all over the country, Baylor fans typed the most disappointing ones.
In any sport, coaches are hired and kept based on winning. While fans may feel that tweeting “Fire him!” is justified by this loss, it is actually outlandish when looking at his overall record and what he has done for the Bears.
Drew came to Baylor during one of the worst times in the team’s history. Over the course of 12 years, he has transformed Baylor men’s basketball. The only other Baylor coach to get close to Drew’s winning record was Bill Henderson, who coached 18 seasons between 1941-1961. During this time, he recorded 201 total wins.
Drew already has 227 under his belt from only 12 seasons. The runner-up behind Henderson recorded 149 wins. Despite the disappointing loss Thursday, Drew is still an incredible asset to the Bears. One loss, no matter how heartbreaking, does not define a coach’s abilities or worth.
Fans also tweeted saying the loss was all Drew’s fault. Whether or not his coaching was the issue, the statement is still ridiculous. Basketball is a team sport. It requires the utmost ability from coaches and players. Not once has anyone said, “That win was 100 percent Drew’s doing.” Why? Because the players pull a significant amount of the weight.
Drew did not personally turn over the ball, nor did he make a 2-point jumper. His coaching guides players’ actions but does not dictate their own abilities. That is not to say the loss was the players’ fault. They played an excellent game with a disappointing end. Losses happen, but it is not up to the fans to point fingers, especially a fan base that is notorious for low attendance.
For some, the fact that Georgia State was able to overcome the Bears’ strong lead made it clear that Drew was to blame. Instead of having the players continue to rack the score up, he played it safe and had them hold onto the ball. With a 12-point lead and 2:54 remaining, this is not an unreasonable call.
Ultimately, it was a short series of unfortunate events. Drew has to be disappointed as well, and instead of rallying behind him as supporters should, fans are just kicking him while he is down.
“Be the standard” doesn’t just apply to football, it applies to all of Baylor. Bears fans fell below that standard today with a spew of hateful tweets. President and Chancellor Ken Starr reminded the student body of that standard today in his email when he said, “While today’s result in Jacksonville was deeply disappointing, we want to congratulate Coach Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears basketball team for a highly successful season.”
Let’s do just that. Congratulations, Bears and Coach Drew, for all you have done and will go on to do.