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A Coach Got T’d Up For Being On The Court!

Baylor Bears head coach Scott Drew yells after being called for a technical foul during the Big 12 college basketball game between Baylor Bears and Iowa State Cyclones on February 3, 2024, at Foster Pavilion in Waco, Texas.
David Buono/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Holy heck, it happened! A coach actually got a technical foul for being on the court!

Plenty of coaches are animated on the sidelines; this is not new. As a result of this, many of them step onto the court sometimes, either accidentally or on purpose. That's not really new, either. But this season it seems like the coaching community's court-invading antics have reached another level. Two weeks ago I wrote about several instances this year in which coaches were not just on the court, but basically played defense as unofficial, much shorter/hoarser sixth men. None of those coaches were hit with any violations for having done so, though refs appeared to warn some.

Last month CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander wrote about the newly frequent coach court commitments, quoting an anonymous veteran official who said refs needed to start handing out technicals to coaches who have spent the first part of this season subbing themselves in. Well, we finally saw a tech this weekend. Baylor’s Scott Drew received two technicals for being out of the coach’s box in the Bears’ 70-68 win over Iowa State on Saturday.

The first tech came midway through the first half. Drew was furious after Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua was called for an offensive foul, and charged onto the court while yelling at the refs about the foul. A ref T’d him up while Drew was yelling at him from more or less the spot he’d occupy if he was waiting for a kickout for a corner three.

Drew continued to yell about the foul after the technical. Milan Momcilovic hit both technical free throws. A Hason Ward dunk gave Iowa State a one-point lead after that. Drew continued to yell.

Baylor had a 54-45 lead in the second half when Drew picked up his second tech. Again, it stemmed from a foul call that he thought was bullshit. Caleb Lohner fouled Robert Jones, Baylor’s eighth foul of the half in under eight minutes. Drew was not pleased with this, and walked out of the coach’s box to express as much before Jones hit his one-and-one. This got Drew his second technical foul, and an ejection.

Eventually, Baylor AD Mack Rhoades put his arm around Drew and walked him into the concourse. On Baylor’s next possession, the bench was issued another technical. The tech that got Drew run and the one that followed were Baylor’s ninth and tenth fouls of the half, which meant Iowa State would shoot two free throws on any defensive or loose-ball foul the rest of the game. This all led to ESPN’s cameras catching a fan who appeared to have scribbled “ref, you suck” onto the back of his sign at some point during the game.

Baylor fan with hastily-scribbled "ref, you suck" on back of his sign that says "BROCK PURDY PLEASE SAVE US" on the other side
The other side of the sign reads, “Brock Purdy please save us.” I guess this guy does not want Kansas City to win the Super Bowl.

In a postgame press conference, Drew claimed ignorance of why he got the technicals. It was his first ejection in 705 games as a head coach. “I don’t think I got explanations all game long,” Drew said. He added that he hoped Big 12 officiating coordinator Curtis Shaw would “do it,” which seemed to mean “make sure I’m not ejected again.”

For Baylor, the technicals were not their only complaints. “I’m not somebody that calls the officials or calls the league after every game,” Rhoades said postgame. “In fact, I never call when it comes to officiating. It's always about, ‘We need to play better, we need to execute better, we need to play tougher,’ all of those things. But tonight was an embarrassment for this league. We have the best basketball league in the country, and the officiating tonight did not match it. Period. End of story.”

Jeb Hartness, Chance Moore, and Chris Merlo officiated the game, which was at Baylor. Kenpom’s ref ratings basically judge which refs are consistently assigned the best games, and Hartness (19th ranked, 57 games) and Moore (43rd, 52 games) are pretty high in the rankings. (Merlo is 168, and has worked 23.) Iowa State does draw more fouls on average; their free throw rate is 22nd in the country. Baylor’s defense is middle of the pack at allowing free throws, even after Iowa State shot 32 on Saturday. None of this accounts for a coach wandering onto the floor, to be clear.

Baylor led by 13 with 14:42 left in the game. Those four technical free throws were part of a 20-0 Iowa State run that put the Cyclones up 61-54. Baylor came back, though, and won the game on Jayden Nunn’s layup with two seconds left. Iowa State’s Momcilovic hit a three that would’ve won the game, but it came just after the buzzer. Scott Drew watched all of that on a TV somewhere.

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