Three prominent Valparaiso athletic figures were among 30 people honored by The Summit League on Tuesday, as the league released its list of Top 30 Distinguished Contributors from the Division I era, in honor of its 30th Anniversary Season. Bryce Drew, Dr. Homer Drew and Dr. William Steinbrecher represented Valparaiso on the list of honorees.
“The 30 individuals recognized on this list represent those who have been instrumental in developing the history of The Summit League over its first 30 seasons at the Division I level,” said Summit League commissioner Tom Douple. “From the administrators who helped develop the league since its inception as the Association of Mid-Continent Universities, to the coaches who have built some of our most successful programs, and the student-athletes who have performed at a high level within our league, in professional sports, and on the International stage, each one of these individuals have played a unique role in making our league what it is today. These outstanding contributors, along with several more who are worthy of acclaim, deserve recognition as iconic figures in our history.”
The Summit League’s Top 30 Distinguished Contributors were determined by voting by a panel of representatives from each current Summit League member institution and each former league member of at least five years along with members of the media who regularly cover the league. Nearly 100 total candidates were originally chosen for consideration based on nominations and individual achievements.
Bryce Drew was honored for his contributions as a player for the Crusaders, a career in which he was twice named league MVP and three times league tournament MVP. A Third Team All-American as a senior, Drew still ranks among The Summit League’s all-time top-10 in scoring, free throw percentage, assists and 3-pointers made. In 1998, Drew hit the buzzer-beater to beat Ole Miss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, propelling Valpo on a run to the Sweet 16, making the Crusaders one of just two Summit League teams to advance to that round.
Homer Drew was honored for his contributions as the Crusader men’s basketball coach while Valpo was in the league from 1988 to 2007. A four-time league Coach of the Year, Drew guided the Crusaders to eight 20-win seasons, eight regular season championships, eight league tournament titles and seven NCAA Tournament berths during their tenure in the league. Drew, who received the league’s Commissioner’s Award of Merit in 2002, still tops the men’s basketball league coaching charts in games coached and career victories, both overall and in league play.
Steinbrecher, Valparaiso’s director of athletics from 1979 through 2004, was an instrumental figure in the original development of the Association of Mid-Continent Universities, which later became known as the Mid-Continent Conference before its present iteration as The Summit League. He served two separate terms as chair of the Mid-Continent Conference Director’s Council during Valpo’s time as a league member, and following the announcement of his impending retirement in 2004, the league renamed its year-ending men’s sports award as the Dr. William Steinbrecher Men’s All-Sports Award.
For a complete list of The Summit League’s Top 30 Distinguished Contributors, visit www.thesummitleague.org.