It’s been over a week since Vanderbilt relieved Bryce Drew of his duties as head coach. But with this year’s Final Four set, it’s worth pondering the backgrounds of the four head coaches.
The most obvious “sure thing” in the Final Four would appear to be Bruce Pearl, who took the Auburn job five years ago after a seven-year run as the head coach at Tennessee, and his Auburn tenure has gone almost exactly as expected — or actually better. Pearl never made the Final Four at Tennessee, after all, though he did win a Division II national title at Southern Indiana.
Tony Bennett went 69-33 in three years at Washington State, a program that has made six NCAA Tournaments, ever. That would seem to be a sure thing; then again, his two NCAA Tournament appearances at Wazzu came mostly with players recruited while his father was still the head coach. And again, you had no idea that it would work out like this for Virginia.
Chris Beard was the head coach at Little Rock for one season, and while he did go 30-5 in that season, it was also his only experience as a Division I head coach prior to taking the Texas Tech job. Beard also took the Texas Tech job at the same time that Bryce Drew took the Vanderbilt job.
And finally — Tom Izzo was a first-time head coach when Michigan State promoted him after Jud Heathcote’s retirement in 1995. He’s inarguably been better than his predecessor, too. Makes sense.
For everyone who insists that Vanderbilt must hire a head coach with Power 5 head coaching experience — well, you have two examples right there in the Final Four that it’s not necessary. You also, of course, have two examples of that approach working. There are arguments to be made both ways.
This, on the other hand...
Sources: Two names of interest in the Vanderbilt coaching search are Memphis Grizzlies assistant Jerry Stackhouse and Charlotte Hornets assistant Ronald Nored.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) March 31, 2019
No idea if that’s real or not, but of course Malcolm Turner would go for a G-League guy.
Vanderbilt finally lost a baseball game, snapping a seven-game winning streak with Sunday’s 7-6 loss to Tennessee, which came on the heels of Tennessee’s best men’s basketball team losing in the Sweet 16 and Tennessee firing its women’s basketball coach, not to mention Vanderbilt’s wins in the first two games of the series. Also...
Vanderbilt lacrosse beat East Carolina 14-10 on Sunday to open conference play, which is a very weird sentence to write because remember, the SEC doesn’t sponsor lacrosse as a sport and we have to play in the AAC instead.