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Vanderbilt Basketball Coaching Search: Kevin Keatts

We're practically just throwing names out there at this point. UNC-Wilmington's second-year head coach is a name that some people like, and it's not difficult to figure out why.

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Kevin Keatts, Head Coach, NC-Wilmington Seahawks

Career Record: 43-22 (2 years), 1 NCAA Tournament appearance, 0-1 NCAA Tournament record

Accomplishments: Took over a UNC Wilmington squad that had won 42 games in four years under Buzz Peterson (LOL) and beat that number in just two years.  In his second year, went 25-8, tied for the CAA regular season title, and got the program to its first NCAA Tournament in ten years before giving Duke a fight in the first round.  Has been named the CAA Coach of the Year in each of the last two years.

Before He Was A Head Coach: Originally from Lynchburg, VA, Keatts played collegiately at Ferrum College.  He started his coaching career as an assistant at Southwestern Michigan, then became an assistant coach at Hargrave Military Academy for two years before serving as head coach at Hargrave for ten years in two separate stints (with a two-year stint as an assistant at Marshall in between), compiling a record of 263-17 and winning two mythical national championships.  After earning his bachelor's degree in 2011, he spent three years as an assistant coach to Rick Pitino at Louisville before taking the job at Wilmington.

Ties to Vanderbilt: None that we know of.

Stylistic Tendencies: In a word, "physical."  Keatts' two teams at Wilmington have ranked #330 and #350 (out of 351) in defensive free throw rate, meaning... they foul a lot.  But they also do a fairly good job forcing turnovers and limiting good looks at the basket, and don't turn the ball over a lot themselves.

Would he come here? Unknown, but considering his base pay is reportedly $300,000 at the present time, Vanderbilt can easily offer him a raise.

Thoughts: In a short time frame, Keatts has gone from a successful high school coach to a Pitino assistant to someone who could plausibly get a major-conference head coaching job, which is saying a lot.  His success at Wilmington (and at Hargrave) suggests that he knows what he's doing.

There are two main concerns with Keatts at Vanderbilt.  The first is fit; specifically, can he get the kind of players he needs to run his preferred style at an academic-oriented school?  And second, did Keatts have any involvement in the scandal at Louisville that's landed them on the NCAA watch list?  I would want satisfactory answers to both before pulling the trigger on a hire, but at the very least he's earned himself a look.