The Perfect Father’s Day Gift: Scott Drew’s “The Road to J.O.Y.” (a review)

*this is a sponsored post*

I have the immense pleasure today of sharing about a wonderful book with you! I received Scott Drew’s The Road to J.O.Y. from FrontGate Media a few weeks ago. And although I am not a basketball player, I read this book in only one day (well, almost, anyway: I read the first few chapters the night before but then it got to be midnight so I put the book down until the next morning, and spent the day reading until I finished!). It’s not only a ridiculously amazing Cinderella story; it is, more importantly perhaps, the story of what God did that transformed a disgraced college basketball program AND those who coached it and played for it. Including Coach Scott Drew, the author of this exceptional book.

About The Road to J.O.Y.

Back in the early 2000s, the Baylor University’s men’s basketball program was rocked by scandals, including murder, drug use, improper payments, and recruiting violations; as well as an attempted cover-up. Baylor imposed sanctions on its own program and the NCAA later did as well. So, when basketball coach Scott Drew was hired as the new head coach, to say that he and his staff would be in charge of rebuilding Baylor’s men’s basketball program would be an understatement. Yet Drew accepted the position and moved his family to Waco, Texas, from Indiana. And the rebuilding began.

The Road to J.O.Y. tells the story of that journey, from Scott’s childhood as the son of college basketball coach Homer Drew (and brother of “The Shot” maker Bryce Drew), to his own assistant coaching position at Valparaiso University, to beginning his head coach career at Baylor–and the 18-year pilgrimage from there to Baylor’s win over Gonzaga of the 2021 NCAA National Championship.

It is a remarkable story. And Coach Drew tells it like the story that it is; of God taking him, his family, his coaching staff, and years of Bears players from, as the old Wide World of Sports promo would say (but in reverse), “the agony of defeat” to the “thrill of victory.”

In Coach Drew’s book, you’ll find his thoughts, along with Scriptures, on topics like: seeking God; spreading joy; God’s formation of us throughout our lives; creating a culture and holding to that; using your lows to prepare for the upcoming heights; and more.

If you’re wondering what the “J.O.Y.” in the title is, it stands for “Jesus. Others. Yourself.” That model is what Coach Drew, his staff, and players built their program on. His book chronicles not only the Baylor Bears’ journey to the NCAA championship, but the spiritual lessons that they learned in the process. It is remarkable, encouraging, and a book that doesn’t just tell a story of winning but that can transform the reader’s life with its lessons.

My thoughts

One of the things I like to do sometimes when a non-fiction book has been powerful for me is to show you the tabs I’ve put on pages that had important thoughts or quotes that I knew could be difference-makers for me. You might laugh when I explain that that’s what you’re seeing in the picture above! (I think my son found the sheer number of them overwhelming!)

I realize that, to some of you, that might look like “too much of a good thing.” I understand! But what I found as I read Coach Drew’s book, is that, in his road to the NCAA championships (remember, that was an eighteen-year journey), he experienced God in so many different types of circumstances, challenges, and of course, joys. I realized early on in my reading that Drew was chronicling his spiritual journey via the ups and downs (and there were a lot of downs) that he walked through. And what I found to be so helpful and noteworthy was that process. I feel as though, in American Christian culture, we can magnify the mountaintop experiences. And don’t get me wrong, they are great! But perhaps in our lives, we might come up against a struggle that we don’t know how to walk through; where God seems very distant and silent; where we are groping for examples of HOW to live faithfully.

That is what I found to be so noteworthy in Drew’s book. I love the story of how God walked them all from horrific scandal to the heights of victory. It’s a great one! But all my tabs marked the thoughts, ideas, and Bible verses that I want to think and write on in my journal. To consider the ways Drew learned to walk through difficulty, that are Scripture-based and full of the life experience I can also take hold of in my own life. It’s an incredible book, and one that could actually be a disciple-making experience for the reader.

So all those tabs? They’re marking things I’ll be writing in my journal. Praying over. And seeing God in ways I might have missed as I look back over some difficult years in our family’s life, and in my own. I believe that He is going to use this book for such good!

Some of my favorite passages

Now that I’ve explained to you what all those tabs ARE, let me share some of my favorite book passages with you!

  • “That the story of a man struggling to deal with the things God has put in his life, and his open questioning of God in that process, can be considered poetic is pretty awesome. That’s real life. God is good. So is the struggle he gives us. And reading through Job with my dad helped remind me of that. Because there were a lot of struggles.” (p. 65)
  • “But a lot of times, God doesn’t make sense. That’s the point. The Bible tells us to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6, emphasis added). (p. 74)
  • “The Bible tells us that God’s ways are not our ways, and we can’t begin to comprehend them. By definition, that means sometimes things will happen that you don’t understand. But does that mean God isn’t working in your life? As Paul would say, “By no means!”” (p. 99)
  • “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. He’s very clear: his goal is to be known.” (p.126)
  • “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 that when people look and see what has happened, they have no choice but to see it as a thing God has done.” (p.191)

Obviously, those are only 5 of the many I’ve marked. But I think they’ll give you a wonderful flavor of what you can find in The Road to J.O.Y.

Where you can purchase The Road to J.O.Y.

So, here is the link where you can purchase The Road to J.O.Y. for a Father’s Day gift, a devotional reading for yourself, or a fantastic book for anyone you know who loves basketball! (Or is a Baylor grad, for that matter!)

Purchase link for The Road to J.O.Y.

This link will take you to the book’s main page, which also has a variety of booksellers’ links (like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Christianbook.com, and BAM! Books-a-Million). There’s also an audio link where you can listen to the first chapter.

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. All the thoughts and opinions listed here are my own and are honest.