Baylor basketball coach credits ‘Christ-centered program’ after winning 1st championship (interview)

Fostering a Christ-first, others-second team model, the Baylor University Bears won their first NCAA men’s basketball national title earlier this month, completing a championship turnaround over 17 years after scandal and murder rocked the program.

But unlike many other Division I basketball teams, the Bears took steps to ensure Christ was at the center of their program, not selfish ambition. 

Moments after clinching the national title and being presented with the national championship trophy, Baylor Coach Scott Drew told CBS’ Jim Nantz that his team plays with a “culture of J.O.Y.,” which stands for “Jesus, Others and then Yourself.”

Drew, who has been the men’s head basketball coach at the Waco, Texas-based university since 2003, told The Christian Post in an interview last Friday that the “culture of J.O.Y.” motto factors into how the team seeks to honor God and love others.

“J.O.Y., it’s pretty simple, ‘Jesus, Others, Yourself. [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,” Drew, the son of National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame coach Homer Drew, explained.

He said all Baylor coaches strive for their team to play selflessly. But with a Christ-centered approach to life, this is easier to achieve.

“As coaches, your mission and goal for any team is to put your teammates in front of yourself,” he said. “Obviously, the only person you would want before others would be God. So if you could keep that priority, then obviously you’re playing selfless, you’re playing for others, you don’t have the pressure on yourself to perform.”

“At the same time, as we get older in life, you know it’s much better to give than to receive. Yet, obviously, with sin in the world, we get prideful, we get jealous, we want to get the attention. So it’s a constant battle …,” he continued. “It’s such a hard thing to actually enact. So you do have to love your teammates to put them in front of you, and it’s only through God’s grace and mercy are we able to do those kinds of things.”

Since Baylor is a Christian university — one of America’s largest Baptist universities — there are many ways for team members to become active in their faith. But the coaches seek to integrate faith into the team’s routine.