Coaches With Local Ties To Steer Commodores’ Ship?

After 17 seasons on the Vanderbilt bench, men’s basketball coach Kevin Stallings has left Nashville to take over for the Pittsburgh Panthers of the ACC. With the job opening, many local and national pundits have tied coaches with local connections to the job.

Stallings had been placed on the hot seat by many fans, particularly after a frustrating season in which the Commodores had two potential NBA draft picks and fell in the First Four of the NCAA tournament. Last week, Vanderbilt AD David Williams did not comment on Stallings’ future with the Dores, leading many to believe his days were numbered on the Memorial Gym baseline. Stallings finished his Vanderbilt career with an overall record of 332-220, but a sub-.500 record in SEC play. The former Vanderbilt coach heads to Pitt to replace Jamie Dixon, who left Pittsburgh for the head coaching position at TCU.

Drew Maddux, Courtesy of
Drew Maddux, Courtesy of

As with any major college job opening, the pundits have begun to put together lists of potential candidates before the ink had a chance to dry on Stallings’ new contract. Names that have been listed include Monmouth coach King Rice, Harvard coach Tommy Amaker, Yale coach James Jones, Dayton coach Archie Miller, Belmont coach Rick Byrd, and Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall. While Byrd and Marshall might be long shots, many expect former Stallings’ assistant Rice to get the first call after his quick turnaround job at Monmouth University over the past five seasons.

However, Nashville sports pundits have two Nashville natives on the short list with FRA alumnus and VCU Coach Will Wade and CPA head coach and Vanderbilt alumnus Drew Maddux. Wade, a 2001 FRA graduate, is one of the youngest head coaches in the country and one of the hottest names in coaching circles. After serving as an assistant at Harvard and VCU, he took over at UT-Chattanooga for two seasons. When Shaka Smart left Virginia Commonwealth for Texas, the Rams hired Wade to keep some consistency with the Rams. This year, Wade’s Rams won the Atlantic-10’s regular season crown and made the NCAA tournament, where they beat Oregon State before falling to Final Four-bound Oklahoma. While Wade’s youth is a strike against him to some, his connection to the area and near 65% winning percentage have some Vandy fans ready to bring him on and hope his success translates to the SEC.

One of the “left-field” candidates for the jobs according to Nashville sports media has been CPA coach Drew Maddux. Maddux, a third-generation Commodore, starred for Vanderbilt from 1995-1998 under Jan van Breda Kolff. Maddux’s name appears in the top-10 of many offensive statistics in the Vanderbilt record books, including being the 5th on the Vanderbilt all-time scoring list at the time of his graduation. He was named First Team All-SEC and honorable mention All-American his senior season. Over his 10 seasons at CPA, Maddux has an astonishing 295-58 overall record and a district winning percentage of over 90%. The Lions also managed to bring home two Class AA state championships in 2012 and 2013. Maddux has worked as a college basketball analyst on TV and radio previously and was previously contacted about the Lipscomb job opening in 2013. While Maddux doesn’t have the collegiate credentials of the other candidates, his success cannot be denied and he surely would be the most passionate candidate about the Vanderbilt job. Maddux certainly has the potential to be a home-run hire for the Commodores.

Whoever Vanderbilt might hire, talent is currently in place if the new coach can keep them on West End to have more success sooner rather than later.

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