And just like that, Kevin Stallings is gone. The former Vanderbilt coach has been fired by Pittsburgh after just two seasons, according to a report from Evan Daniels of 247 Sports.
After a 17-season stint as the head coach of the Commodores, Stallings left Nashville for a chance to coach at Pittsburgh in 2016. His time with the Panthers was short and painful, as the Commodores’ all-time wins leader amassed a 24-41 record and ended his tenure on a 19-game losing streak. Stallings went 0-18 in ACC play during the 2017-18 season.
It was an embarrassing run for the coach who led the Commodores to seven NCAA Tournament appearances and a 332-220 record from 1999-2016. He left the program after a tournament appearance in 2016, but the parting of ways was seemingly mutual after Stallings failed to make headway with a roster that included future NBA players Damian Jones, Luke Kornet and Wade Baldwin, among others.
Stallings’ best work with the Commodores was done in a pair of Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2004 and 2007, during which he leveraged the most of former Commodores stars Matt Freije, Shan Foster and Derrick Byars on teams that may have been less talented than some of his later iterations.
Known for his old-school, no-nonsense approach to coaching, it has been theorized by some that Stallings does not relate well with modern players in the ever-changing world of college basketball. It would appear that he did not get off on the right foot at Pittsburgh, and the result was a historically bad season for a proud program.
Stallings has reportedly been insistent upon receiving a full buyout from Pittsburgh, according to 93.7 The Fan’s Colin Dunlap. It could cost Pittsburgh as much as $9.4 million for him not to coach the Panthers moving forward.
I’m told Kevin Stallings has informed them he will not accept the reduced buyout of about $7.5M that Pitt boosters had hoped he would. He wants $9.4M and it is headed for a showdown — or most likely Pitt paying the whole thing to part with him.
— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) March 7, 2018
Vanderbilt has experienced some struggles of its own in the post-Stallings era. Commodores coach Bryce Drew led Vanderbilt to a one-and-done NCAA Tournament appearance last season with players primarily brought to campus by Stallings, but struggled to replicate that success in Year 2.
The Commodores just capped a painful 12-20 season with an opening round loss to Georgia at the SEC Tournament on Wednesday evening.
The future is brighter under Drew, however. Vanderbilt currently has the No. 7-ranked recruiting class headlined by 5-star recruits Darius Garland and Simisola Shittu and is on the top-3 list for 5-star guard Romeo Langford.