The house cleaning... continues.
Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletic Director Candice Lee announced today that Stephanie White will not return as women’s basketball head coach.
White had a 46-83 record in four-plus seasons (with the 2020-21 season being cut short after eight games) and a ghastly 13-52 SEC record, and yet in spite of that, the university had said three weeks ago that White would be back for a sixth year. But according to Adam Sparks, something changed.
A month ago, the decision had been made to retain White for a sixth season. But that was when the Commodores were returning a talented and experienced squad whose 2020-21 season was cut short because COVID-19, opt-outs and injuries depleted the roster.
Circumstances have since changed. And two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told The Tennessean that Vanderbilt leadership decided to reconsider. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity.
It’s not that difficult to figure out what changed. Last week, Koi Love, the team’s leading scorer in the truncated 2020-21 season, entered the transfer portal. Aside from making it extremely unlikely that White would have the kind of season that it would take to retain her job in 2021-22, having your best player transfer with two years of eligibility remaining is the kind of big honking red flag that something isn’t right here, especially since it was part of a pattern that had been ongoing since White became the coach.
In college basketball in 2021, players entering the transfer portal after the season is par for the course; starters entering the transfer portal isn’t, and three starters leaving in a week is really bad.
Anyway, we can all start paying attention to women’s basketball again. Everybody was a bit skeptical of Candice Storey Lee when she was named Athletic Director in February 2020, but she already seems to have made a good hire for the football program and let’s see if she will do the same for women’s basketball.