Lottich succeeds Drew as basketball coach at Valparaiso

Apr 7, 2016 - 10:54 PM VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) Valparaiso has a men's basketball coach not named Drew for the first time since 1988.

The university announced Thursday that it had promoted assistant coach Matt Lottich to succeed Bryce Drew, who was introduced a day earlier as the head coach at Vanderbilt after coaching the Crusaders, following in his father's and brother's footsteps.

''We're delighted Matt Lottich will serve as coach for our men's basketball team,'' university President Mark Heckler said. ''He has proven to be an outstanding coach who demonstrates a deep love for and commitment to the university's core beliefs, values and ideals, and I am confident he will foster these values in our exceptional student-athletes.''

Homer Drew took over a program in 1988 that had never been to the NCAA Tournament, never won a conference title or never posted a winning record in its Division I era. He took the Crusaders to five straight NCAA Tournaments from 1996 to 2000, including the school's only regional semifinal appearance in 1998, when his son Bryce made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave Valparaiso a 70-69 victory in the first round.

Homer Drew retired in 2002 and was replaced by his son Scott, who coached Valparaiso for one season before he was hired by Baylor. Homer Drew returned and coached until retiring a second time in 2011 and was succeeded by Bryce Drew.

Lottich played at Stanford. As a senior in 2004, he helped lead the Cardinal to the Pac-10 title. He was the head scout for the National Collegiate Scouting Association and previously played eight years professionally in Japan.

The Crusaders are coming off a season in which they won a school-record 30 games before losing to George Washington in the NIT championship. In five seasons under Bryce Drew, Valparaiso posted a record of 124-49 with two NCAA Tournament berths, four Horizon League regular-season titles and two league tournament championships.

Athletic director Mark LaBarbera said Lottich, a Crusaders assistant the past three seasons, would provide the team with some continuity.

''He has a keen basketball mind and a strong ability to teach and communicate,'' he said.

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