Stallings Comments on Cuonzo Martin Have Nothing to do with Bruce Pearl

"Clay: which one of these fingers is for lazy radio hosts?" - Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

That is, unless you are making a lazy, surface deep argument on your attempted scorched earth campaign to bring him back.

Apparently Kevin Stallings comments on Cuonzo Martin have stirred up some feels across various factions of both the Tennessee and Vanderbilt fan bases. Analysis has ranged from stupid to ignorant.

Here’s an objective look at why he said what he said (hint: Bruce Pearl has little to do with it, unless you are a Bruce Pearl apologist with a local radio show).

His original comments:

I think for people to speculate on his job is absurd. He’s in his third year and that is ridiculous. He’s doing a good job with their team. I think they’re getting ready to make the NCAA Tournament. It takes some time when you go in there and you have to change some things and change the way things are done.

It used to be in this business guys got four or five years to show what they could do. The only thing that’s changed is people thinking that they ought to have more of a say in that, and then weak athletic administrations giving into that kind of pressure.

Hopefully, the powers that be over at Tennessee will tune those idiots out and give (Martin) the kind of time he deserves to do the job he needs to do.

If you would jump at the opportunity to cut off the academic arm of the University of Tennessee to give the athletic arm a major boost (let’s be honest, 95% of UT fans absolutely would) and you’ve been actively campaigning for the Vols to rehire the man that embarrassed the program by lying to his superiors and the NCAA, you probably are going to see this as nothing more than an attempt to prevent Bruce Pearl from returning as a threat. Ultimately, this argument is vintage Clay Travis (read: surface deep and supporting his narrative). He did touch on Stallings career conference record while at Vanderbilt (118–123), though in doing so he probably should have taken a deeper look:

Season Wins Losses Net Running Net NCAA?
92–93 14 2 12 NCAA
End of Fogler, Start of Van Breda Kolff
93–94 9 7 2 2
94–95 6 10 –4 –2
95–96 7 9 –2 –4
96–97 9 7 2 –2 NCAA
97–98 7 9 –2 –4
98–99 5 11 –6 –10
Start of Kevin Stallings tenure
99–00 8 8 0 0
00–01 4 12 –8 –8
01–02 6 10 –4 –12
02–03 3 13 –10 –22
03–04 8 8 0 –22 NCAA
04–05 8 8 0 –22
05–06 7 9 –2 –24
06–07 10 6 4 –20 NCAA
07–08 10 6 4 –16 NCAA
08–09 8 8 0 –16
09–10 12 4 8 –8 NCAA
10–11 9 7 2 –6 NCAA
11–12 10 6 4 –2 NCAA
12–13 8 10 –2 –4
13–14 7 8 –1 –5

Anyone with any in-depth knowledge of Vanderbilt sports knows Stallings comments are entirely about giving coaches time rather than about Bruce Pearl not going back to Tennessee. Let me explain.

When Stallings joined Vanderbilt, the program was in a horrible state. Gone were the packed gyms of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Vanderbilt had instituted a new ticket policy that continues to have a devastating effect on the gameday atmosphere (lifelong, vocal, and never-miss-a-game fans supplanted in the lower levels by wealthy, ambivalent, and entitled socialites with no personal investment in the team other than his or her money), and VBK hadn't exactly done a good job.

Transition and rebuilding
Season Wins Losses Net Running Net NCAA?
99–00 8 8 0 0
00–01 4 12 –8 –8
01–02 6 10 –4 –12
02–03 3 13 –10 –22

1999–2000 was a successful failure. Dan Langhi and company were famously screwed out of an NCAA berth, much to Dick Vitale’s chagrin on Selection Sunday. Langhi graduated that offseason and saw playing time in the NBA.

The next few years were several degrees more frustrating than anything about which Tennessee basketball fans can currently complain (would there even be unrest if the football team were any good? - LOL). A talent deficiency came to a head and Stallings began infusing young talent into the roster. 2000–2001 was Matt Freije’s freshman year and he played a lot more than most freshmen did at that time.

Despite a groundswell of fan unrest (there were some ugly individual incidents that I won't detail), David Williams and Vanderbilt’s administration backed Stallings and promised him time to turn things around. Of course, Stallings would do just that, and become the first Vanderbilt head coach to earn bids to three consecutive NCAA tournaments and the most of any Commodore head coach.

Since 2003–2004 (First full recruiting class as seniors)
Season Wins Losses Net Running Net NCAA?
03–04 8 8 0 0 NCAA
04–05 8 8 0 0
05–06 7 9 –2 –2
06–07 10 6 4 2 NCAA
07–08 10 6 4 6 NCAA
08–09 8 8 0 6
09–10 12 4 8 14 NCAA
10–11 9 7 2 16 NCAA
11–12 10 6 4 20 NCAA
12–13 8 10 –2 18
13–14 7 8 –1 17

Stallings has *direct, applicable experience* when discussing the subject:

It used to be in this business guys got four or five years to show what they could do. The only thing that’s changed is people thinking that they ought to have more of a say in that, and then weak athletic administrations giving into that kind of pressure.

This isn’t some veiled attempt to keep Bruce Pearl out of Tennessee (brittle, superficial argument is brittle). It is an honest reflection on his time at Vanderbilt and what he thinks is a fair shake for a coach, any coach. Stallings had no problem publicly letting people know he didn't like Bruce Pearl in the past; now is certainly no different. If he were actually capable of lining up an interview with Coach Stallings, Clay Travis could ask him straight up and he would admit it. He is well known for telling it like it is. The fact of the matter is Stallings would argue this point on Bruce Pearl's behalf. That's Stallings brand of no bullshit. He's a no bullshitter's no bullshitter, which is rather fantastic in a world of Bruce Pearl and James Franklin spin doctors.

Cuonzo Martin is 10–6, 11–7, and 8–7 in conference play so far as Tennessee’s head coach. He’s performed better in every season so far than Bruce Pearl’s last as Tennessee head coach. Bruce Pearl didn’t exactly leave the cupboard stocked at the end of his tenure, which is probably why his first instinct was to lie about some of the things he was doing to try to change that.

I do think it's time for Pearl to be back in college basketball. I hope he does end up in the SEC because he's a good villain. I just don't see how the University of Tennessee would go about pretending that it has any integrity at that point. Not that fans like Clay Travis give a shit.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Anchor Of Gold

You must be a member of Anchor Of Gold to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Anchor Of Gold. You should read them.

Join Anchor Of Gold

You must be a member of Anchor Of Gold to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Anchor Of Gold. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker