The Road to J.O.Y. Leading with Faith, Playing with Purpose, Leaving a Legacy by Scott Drew. Thomas Nelson. 239 pages. 2022
This book, written by Scott Drew, the coach of the Baylor University men’s basketball team, is about the culture of J.O.Y. (Jesus, Others, Yourself), and Baylor men’s basketball. As his co-author Don Yaeger writes, this isn’t a book about a basketball team, rather it’s a book about a ministry. In this inspiring book you will read about how Coach Drew integrates his faith and work as the men’s basketball coach at Baylor.
The book takes us through the 2020-21 season, in which Baylor won the NCAA Championship and the parade which followed in Waco, Texas. Drew had taken the job in 2003 which he writes was arguably—because of a tragedy and scandal—the most infamous team in all of college sports. He writes of his life leading up to Baylor – his father was also a basketball coach, and his brother made a famous shot to win an NCAA game for Valparaiso. He attended Butler University, where he tells us he learned how to be a coach. He would replace his father as head coach at Valparaiso, where he coached for a year before taking the Baylor position. In his first season he and his coaching staff tried to figure out how they could be competitive with only eight scholarship players.
His first three years, and the third year especially, helped solidify in his own heart the kind of foundation they were trying to build at Baylor. He writes that helping take a program from the brink of the NCAA “death penalty” into the NCAA tournament in five seasons was the kind of thing that God had to be involved in.
Most important, Drew writes that they saw their program as a ministry (chapel messages, players accepting Christ, being baptized, etc.). He writes that as coaches they spend as much time on their spiritual posture and positioning as anything else. There’s nothing more important that they can teach the players. He tells us that he is a basketball coach and likes to win, but he has come to understand that winning the game of life is the only game that matters.
He tells us that in the off-season of 2019, he started reaching out to men of faith whom he felt he could learn from. The coaches knew they needed to increase their pursuit of God and incorporation of Jesus into their program. Coach Drew called coaches Dabo Swinney and Tony Dungy. They started to tell him about a culture of J.O.Y., which stood for Jesus, Others, Yourself. They implemented the culture of J.O.Y. into their daily routines at Baylor and putting Jesus first in that overt way literally changed their program.
He writes that their team came together inside that Indianapolis (COVID) bubble in ways that only made them better as a team, even when basketball was the furthest thing from their minds. Their entire group, one through thirty-four, was there to invest in and pour into one another. He tells us that in some ways, it was three weeks of the closest thing to the early church lifestyle any of them had experienced.
Baylor would beat Gonzaga in the national championship game, the culmination of the eighteen years Coach Drew had been at Baylor and the incredible challenges God helped them to overcome.
I really enjoyed this inspiring book about how Coach Drew integrated his faith and work as the men’s basketball coach at Baylor University, the challenges and successes. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
- Sometimes God calls us at the times when it doesn’t seem to make much sense. So, we have to rely on him and seek his hand in all of it.
- One of the things I’ve learned: always give 100 percent and let God decide the results.
- When you have what seems like an impossible task, don’t forget to ask Jesus to make the impossible possible and seek his guidance throughout.
- In life, I think God uses our process as much as our progress. We are shaped by the experiences God has for us, and I think that shaping equips us for the next parts of our journeys.
- When you regularly pursue God, it’s important to stop and see the ways he is speaking and moving in your life, even if the ultimate outcome isn’t yet what you’ve hoped for.
- A lot of times, during some of the moments the world would consider to be the lowest, God brings you the closest to him, making those moments, in hindsight, some of the best.
- Sometimes, when you find that you aren’t having the success you want, ask yourself if what you want is what God would consider success.
- I’ve always believed in trusting God with the outcome if you put in the work.
- When you have genuine faith, you see service for and investment in others as things you get to do, not things you have to do.
- If you live your life on mission for God, everything you do can be a ministry, because everyone you encounter can be someone you serve because Jesus has served you.
- Tomorrow is promised to no one. All we can do is make the most out of today.
- God often uses the least of us to make amazing things happen, not so much to bless the vessels he chooses for the mission but so when people look and see what has happened, they have no choice but to see it as a thing God has done.
- When you think of the things in your life as a ministry, instead of a career or a hobby, or even just a family, it changes everything.