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Bryce Drew will not return as Vanderbilt men’s basketball coach

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A school-record losing streak doomed Drew in his third year in Nashville

Auburn v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Bryce Drew’s run as head coach of the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team is over. The university announced Friday that the third-year head coach would not return for a fourth.

“Vanderbilt is committed to competing at the highest levels on and off the court. After careful consideration, we’ve decided to make a change to the leadership of our men’s basketball program,” Athletic Director Malcolm Turner said in a statement. “Bryce has represented Vanderbilt in exceptional fashion in his time here. I appreciate all of the contributions Bryce has made over the past three seasons to Vanderbilt, and we wish him all the best.”

Drew’s exit comes after what was likely the most disappointing season in Commodores’ history. Vanderbilt came into 2018-19 with massive expectations after signing the most highly-touted recruiting class in program history. Five-star prospects Darius Garland and Simi Shittu headlined Vandy’s 2018 arrivals, with four-star forward Aaron Nesmith rounding out a powerhouse class and raising NCAA Tournament expectations.

Garland lasted only five games before a knee injury ended his college career. Shittu reportedly clashed with Drew and saw his playing time and impact dwindle as the season wore on, scoring just 17 points over his final three games of the year. Nesmith was a useful piece throughout the season, but shot only 39.2% from the field as the Commodores fell apart when the calendar flipped over to 2019.

A 9-4 non-conference start gave way to an 0-19 SEC record that stands as the worst single-season campaign in league history. Drew’s Vanderbilt team lost 13 of those games by double digits and only two by three points or fewer. That, evidently, was all new AD Turner needed to see. On Friday, more than a week after wrapping up a disastrous season, Drew was relieved of his duties.

Drew leaves Vanderbilt with a 40-59 overall record and one NCAA Tournament appearance.