Sidelines with John Clay

Big Blue Links: Who will replace Kevin Stallings at Vanderbilt?

Kevin Stallings, shown here coaching Vanderbilt against Florida this season, has been named as the new head basketball coach at Pittsburgh.
Kevin Stallings, shown here coaching Vanderbilt against Florida this season, has been named as the new head basketball coach at Pittsburgh. The Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Monday:

▪ Now that Kevin Stallings has departed for Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt is in the market for a new basketball coach. Will Wade the 33-year-old coach at VCU, who happens to be a Nashville native, may be at the top of the Commodores’ list. A coach who is already in Nashville, Belmont’s Rick Byrd, may also have strong support.

▪ Judging by the reaction, Pittsburgh seems underwhelmed at getting Stallings. A former Pitt coach came to the new hire’s defense. “This was a real coup for Pitt, a steal for them, an absolute no-brainer hire,” said Mississippi State coach Ben Howland, who coached at Pitt from 1999-2003. “I’ve known Kevin for 30 years. Pitt basketball is in great hands. He will do a fantastic job. This isn’t a young guy learning on the job; he will know exactly what to do from day one.”

▪ Rick Stansbury is expected to be named the new head coach at Western Kentucky on Monday. The ex-Mississippi State coach and Kentucky native arrived in Bowling Green on Sunday. Stansbury replaces Ray Harper, who resigned after five seasons as the WKU coach.

▪ The Kentucky baseball team pulled out a wild 5-4 win over Florida on Sunday to take the three-game series from the No. 1-ranked Gators. The Cats are now 17-6 overall and 4-2 in the SEC. “When you play in our league, you have the opportunity to play the No. 1 team pretty frequently,” head coach Gary Henderson said. “That is how good our league is. You get to play multiple No. 1 teams in the same conference season. I am just really proud of our kids. This is a shot of confidence as we move forward.”

▪ Marques Bolden, UK’s top remaining basketball target, is close to making a decision. Reports Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader, “John Calipari visited the 6-foot-10 center in Texas on Thursday, and he’s narrowed his choices to UK, Duke and Texas Christian, though it’s expected to be either the Wildcats or the Blue Devils. Bolden has said he wants to announce a decision before his birthday on April 17, and there’s been speculation it could come this week.”

▪ Bill Rhoden of the New York Times praises Virginia and the ACC for being “much-needed antidote to the one-and-done model espoused by John Calipari and Kentucky” without mentioning that Duke won the national title last season with three prominent one-and-done players in Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow.

▪ At Rupp Arena on Sunday, Washington continued its string of upsets by beating Stanford 85-76 to reach the Final Four. The Huskies were led by the delightful Chantel Osahor, an unorthdox player who scored 24 points to lead the Pac-12 team to the win. Washington knocked off Kentucky on Friday night.

▪ North Carolina reached its 19th Final Four thanks to an 88-74 win over Notre Dame in the East Region final. The Tar Heels will play Syracuse in a national semifinal on Saturday in Houston. After Notre Dame took a 52-51 lead on Sunday night, North Carolina responded with a key 12-0 run of its own and cruised on to the victory.

▪ Virginia had a 16-point lead on Syracuse before the Cavaliers suffered a total collapse in the Midwest Region final. Syracuse won 68-62. Credit Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who went to a full-court press midway through the second half which picked up the pace.

▪ No doubt the Cavaliers will look back on this tournament as one in which they gave away a Final Four berth. “We fully understand,” said Virginia forward Anthony Gill said, “that it was our game to win, and we just gave it away.”

▪ Georgia Tech is also in the market for a basketball coach after firing Brian Gregory. The former Michigan State assistant was 76-86 overall and 27-61 in ACC play. After taking over in 2011, Gregory failed to take the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA Tournament.

Kevin Stallings at Vanderbilt

Year

Overall

SEC

NCAA Tourney

1999-00

19-11

8-8

2000-01

15-15

4-12

2001-02

17-15

6-10

2002-03

11-18

3-13

2003-04

23-10

8-8

Lost in Sweet 16

2004-05

20-14

8-8

2005-06

17-13

7-9

2006-07

22-12

10-6

Lost in Sweet 16

2007-08

26-8

10-6

Lost in first round

2008-09

19-12

8-8

2009-10

24-9

12-4

Lost in first round

2010-11

23-11

9-7

Lost in second round

2011-12

25-11

10-6

Lost in second round

2012-13

16-17

8-10

2013-14

15-16

7-11

2014-15

21-14

9-9

20-15-16

19-14

11-7

Lost in First Four

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