The Baylor Bears’ redemption story is something out of a movie. It’s a unique, slow-burn redemption that many casual fans are unaware of.
Baylor Bears Men's Basketball History
Baylor appeared in, but lost, the national title all the way back in 1948. The following year, the AP began ranking the nation’s top teams.
In the AP poll’s inaugural season, Baylor ranked as highly as 18th. They then appeared in the AP poll just once until the 2007-08 season. Since resurfacing in the AP poll, Baylor has ranked inside the top-25 in every season besides 2018-19.
In 2021, the years of frustration and ineptitude were put in the rearview as Baylor claimed its first national championship, taking down the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Baylor Guard Jared Butler was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament. His teammates Davion Mitchell, MaCio Teague, and Mark Vital played an integral part in immortalizing Baylor basketball.
The Bears’ road to redemption was an unusual one. After an inconceivable tragedy struck the program in 2003, the NCAA began investigations into multiple allegations against the basketball team.
The school’s self-imposed sanctions and the NCAA’s penalties devastated the program for almost 10 years. Shortly after, Scott Drew took a head coaching job nobody else in the country wanted.
After nearly two decades, Drew and the Bears completed one of the most unlikely redemption stories in American college sports.