Larry Drew

2013 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

Larry Drew Portrait

Wyandotte High School, 1976

Many young men grow up with dreams of becoming professional sports figures someday, but not Larry Drew. He played sports because he loved the thrill of competition. And he excelled because he pushed himself to be the best that he could be. That best, as it turns out, gave him a college education and a professional career that he never thought possible.

Drew is the head coach for the Milwaukee Bucks, of the National Basketball Association. He has had a successful 33-year history in professional sports. The inspiration and support shown by his parents and siblings over the years gave Drew reasons to believe in himself, and he is grateful.

Baseball was actually his favorite sport while he was growing up. But an injury ended his career. He later turned his focus toward basketball. During junior high, his coach at Northwest told him he was a “soft” player. That comment was all he needed to prove himself. He trained hard: running backwards up hills, running stadium bleachers and shooting up to 1,000 hoops in one sitting. He became one of the best players on his high school team at Wyandotte. During his senior year, he came home one day to find University of Missouri Coach Norm Stewart at his house. Stewart offered him a full scholarship on the spot.

During his senior year at MU, his coach told him that the NBA was looking at him. He said he remembered thinking, “You mean I can play basketball for money?”

He was a first-round draft pick for the Detroit Pistons in 1980. And he went on to play for 10 seasons on teams including the KC/Sacramento Kings, the LA Clippers and LA Lakers. He got into coaching when his good friend, Magic Johnson, asked him to be his assistant coach for the LA Lakers. Drew went on to coach at Detroit, Washington and several other cities.

In looking back at his career, he said, “Life opened up for me because I had a passion and a drive to better myself to be the best at what I loved doing.”