Assistant Coach Jeff Jackson
Assistant Coach Brad
Director of Basketball Operations
Assistant Coach Dan Muller
Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings is excited about his team
this season and he has the right to be.
Stallings finally feels like he has put together a group that
can match up with the elite teams in the SEC. This year's squad has the size,
speed, quickness, toughness and experience at the top of the lineup that will
allow Stallings' the ability and flexibility to return the Commodores to the
top of the SEC.
Making it easier to expect success is the job Stallings and his
coaching staff does both on and off the court. Entering their fourth season
in Nashville, they have increased the talent level of the team and continue
to strive to attract the nation's top recruits.
They made sure they didn't miss anything in their own backyard,
signing two players from the Nashville area. Then the staff went almost coast
to coast to sign players from Arizona, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
For the first time since taking the Vanderbilt job, Stallings
now has a full lineup that is healthy and talented enough to contribute. But
when that talent has not been available in the past, Stallings and his staff
could be counted to coach their team into contention and grab their share of
When Stallings was hired in April of 1999, he inherited a team
that lost three players from a squad that finished 14-15. With no incoming recruits,
there was little reason for optimism. While Stallings was able to sign one player
before the season started, he took over essentially the same team that posted
a 5-11 record in the SEC and won just one road game the year before.
Stallings led that Vanderbilt squad to a 19-11 record and an NIT
berth. Along the way he helped Dan Langhi earn SEC Player of the Year honors,
the first Commodore to garner the conference player of the year award since
This past season, Stallings guided the Commodores back to the
postseason, leading them to their first postseason victory since 1998. It also
continued Stallings' streak of never having a losing season in 24 years as a
player or coach.
And Commodore fans can have faith in the fact that Stallings
is not planning on ending that streak anytime soon. Wherever Stallings has coached,
winning has quickly followed. He also is no stranger to high expectations.
When he came to Illinois State as the new head coach in the spring
of 1993, he followed the most successful coach in school history. Stallings
proceeded to raise the bar of success a notch higher. In six seasons at ISU,
he recorded four 20-win seasons, won two conference titles, two conference tournament
championships and captured four postseason tournament berths.
In the same manner, Stallings hopes to continue the illustrious
history of Vanderbilt basketball.
The Commodores were a national power under head coach Roy Skinner
in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, and made four NCAA Tournament appearances
from 1988 to 1993 under C.M. Newton and Eddie Fogler.
Stallings has embraced the Commodores' history and tradition,
while charting the direction he plans to take the program.
"For about six or eight months I looked around and tried
to find a reason that we couldn't be successful," Stallings said. "I
finally stopped looking because there isn't any reason we can't be successful."
Stallings' formula for success is not complicated. He believes
in the time-honored values of intelligence, drive, hard work, experience and
integrity. The outcome is that his teams win and his players graduate.
Stallings is committed to maintaining the high academic standards
of Vanderbilt University. It is not an empty promise. At Illinois State, five
players achieved Academic All-American status and all but two seniors earned
their degrees during his tenure. That trend has continued at Vanderbilt with
all of his seniors earning their degrees.
On the court, Stallings has a toughness and competitive nature
that drives him and in turn drives his team when they step on the floor. Stallings
cares deeply about his players. He preaches discipline and common sense in both
basketball and life.
Stallings began his coaching career as an assistant under Gene
Keady at Purdue from 1983-88. The Boilermakers were 140-44 during that time
with three Big Ten championships and six trips to the NCAA Tournament.
In 1988, Stallings accepted a position on Roy Williams' staff
at Kansas. In his five seasons, the Jayhawks posted a 132-38 record with three
Big Eight regular season titles and four trips to the NCAA Tournament, including
two appearances in the Final Four.
In addition to Keady and Williams, Stallings credits his high
school coach, Virgil Fletcher, for his development as a coach and teacher.
"I am proud to have been associated with and honored to have
had the opportunity to play for and work under three guys of that magnitude."
In 1993, at the age of 32, Stallings was ready for his first head
coaching position. He took the reigns at Illinois State and swiftly built the
program into a regular contender for the Missouri Valley Conference title. The
team made two NIT and two NCAA Tournament appearances from 1994-1999, and Stallings
posted a 123-63 record.
Stallings, age 42, and his wife of 19 years, Lisa, have three
children; Jacob, age 12, and Alexa, age eight and Jordyn, age two.
CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT FROM STALLINGS HIRING