With its 62–54 victory over Wright State in Tuesday’s Horizon League championship game, Valparaiso broke a nine-year NCAA tournament drought. The Crusaders were led by a coach, Bryce Drew, who’s also the most famous player in program history.
It was 15 years ago on Wednesday that Drew — then a senior Valpo guard — shot his way into March Madness immortality with his buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer against Ole Miss in the first round of the tourney. The shot is now so well-known that it has its own Wikipedia page.
Often forgotten is that Drew followed up his miracle shot with a 22-point performance in an OT win over Florida State in the second round, sending the Crusaders to the Sweet Sixteen (where they would lose to Rhode Island).
The 16th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, Drew played professionally for six seasons (1998–2004) before returning to Valpo as an assistant to his father, longtime Crusaders coach Homer Drew. When his father retired in May 2011, Drew was hired as his replacement.
Now, a little less than two years later, the Crusaders — and Drew — are dancing again.