Five reasons to thank Kevin Stallings

It's official now: Kevin Stallings has been hired by the University of Pittsburgh. While some will be glad to see him gone and the program may need a fresh start, I think we should thank him for his 17 years of service to Vanderbilt University. Here are five of Stallings' positive contributions to the Vanderbilt basketball program.

1) Vanderbilt won under Stallings:   Kevin Stallings, with 332 victories at Vandy, is the all-time leader in wins at Vanderbilt.  The Commodores averaged 19.5 wins a year which is not bad at all.  Stallings produced 11 twenty win seasons and had five seasons of 24 or more victories.  Only in two seasons did his teams fail to win more games than they lost (2012-13, 2013-14) and both those were just one win under .500.  

2) NCAA Appearances:   Making it to the NCAA Tournament is obviously important to any college basketball program.  Under Stallings Vanderbilt had good success making it to that tournament.  When Stallings took over at VU, Vanderbilt had been to seven Big Dances in its history.  On leaving VU the Commodores have now been to 14 tournaments so Stallings is responsible for half the NCAA Tourney appearances in Vandy history. 

3) Competitive with Kentucky:  Stallings gave Vandy fans something they wanted and enjoyed in victories over Kentucky.   During his tenure Vandy downed the Cats 12 times .  That includes a 93-52 victory over UK in 2008, the most lopsided Vanderbilt victory over the Wildcats ever.   If you searched back from the 1998-99 season (the year before Stallings arrived)  to find a dozen wins over the Cats you'd have to go back to the F-Troop days in the early 70s to get to twelve.

4) SEC Tournament prowess: Prior to Stallings Vandy had struggled year after year in the conference tournament.  Under Kevin's leadership, Vandy was not only competitive but won the tourney in 2012 beating eventual National Champion Kentucky for the title.   Stallings had 14 wins in the SEC-T as head coach at Vandy.  In the 17 years prior to Stallings the program experienced a paltry six wins in the tourney.

5) Great Players.  Take a quick glance at the top scorers in Vanderbilt history and you'll find that the top three played under Stallings.   Under Stallings Vanderbilt had three players get All-America honors and three selected as SEC Players of the Year.   Watching Stallings' career at Vandy you could see that the talent level was improving steadily.  

The future of Vanderbilt basketball is brighter because of Kevin Stallings.  I think most objective Vanderbilt fans will thank him, as I do, for his hard work in leading the program.  

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