Ben Queen / Wikimedia Commons

The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) has released a video series called Religious Freedom Testimonial. The purpose of the series is to “showcase Americans from different religious traditions and walks of life witnessing to how they exercise their faith in all areas of their life, and why religious freedom is essential.” The first video featured Baylor University Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Scott Drew.  Drew has been head coach of the Baylor Bears since 2003, when the team fell under intense scrutiny after the murder of one of its players, Patrick Dennehy. Dennehy was murdered by a fellow teammate, Carlton Dotson, and the investigation into the murder uncovered a series of allegations of misconduct against the team, causing the NCAA to intervene with a probation period through 2010 amongst other punishments. Yet since that time, Drew, who took over the team after serving as its assistant coach, has completely turned the culture of the team around. In 2021, after he led the team to its first championship, he stated the team’s “Christ-centered approach” and “culture of J.O.Y.” made all the difference. “J.O.Y., it’s pretty simple, ‘Jesus, Others, Yourself,” he said. “[Its] very easy to remember and yet so hard to do. But at the end of the day, we want to make sure we always honor and give credit to Jesus first, and our teammates and others second, and talk about ourselves third.”

In speaking with RFI, Drew spoke about the precedence faith takes over sports. “All that matters is when I get to those gates, God’s not going to say, ‘What was your record? How many players did you help get to the pros? How many championships did you win?’ So at the end of the day, I am making sure [the players] are winning the game of life.” Despite having led Baylor to its first championship win in the 2020-21 season, Scott stated his real joy comes from seeing players saved. “Seeing the spiritual growth, guys. Players who accept Christ, players who maybe prayed for the first time with the team, players who get baptized, players who come back and get Bible studies and go to church, and you know that’s what’s really exciting,” he said. “Sometimes those victories are not written and talked about in the newspapers or TV, but again, those are the ones that really matter.”

He also expressed his gratitude for working at a religious university, which allows him to openly share his faith, noting he has colleagues in secular institutions where that is not a possibility. “Baylor University gives you that opportunity,” he said. “Spiritually we’re allowed to have an impact in our players’ lives, so many of my coaching friends [that] are devout in their faith are at institutions where they can’t. I am a much better husband, father, spiritually I have grown from the staff that we have because we will do coach’s bible studies together and we start every meeting in prayer.” He emphasized the importance of strong foundations as well, saying, “If you have the right foundation and you know that Jesus has a plan for your life, and you trust Him in handling your future, then you can relax and enjoy the game of basketball, you can enjoy the game of life, and at the end of the day winning the game of life is a lot more important than the game.”

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