Vanderbilt “emphatically” denied a report on Thursday that Kevin Stallings was to be fired this week after 17 years as the men’s basketball coach.
“I just got off the phone with (athletics director David Williams and he emphatically says the rumor is not true or accurate that Kevin Stallings is no longer our coach,” Vanderbilt director of communications Rod Williamson told Adam Sparks of The Tennesseean.
The response came less than an hour after a reporter from VandySports.com, an affiliate of Rivals, tweeted that a formal announcement of the firing Stallings was to come in the “next few days” and that Vanderbilt had already started its search for a new coach.
@VandySportscom Formal Announcement to come in next few days. Vanderbilt has already reached out to candidates
— Trey Wallace (@TreyW_Radio) March 24, 2016
Stallings, 55, was hired by Vanderbilt in 1999 and led the program to the Sweet 16 in 2004 and 2007. However, the Commodores have won just one NCAA tournament game over the last nine seasons, despite earning a bid five times over that span.
Vanderbilt finished this season 19-14, and Stallings has a 332-220 record with the program.
Vanderbilt has suffered several NCAA tournament failures during Stallings’ tenure, including a 2008 loss to 13th-seeded Siena, a 2010 loss to 13th-seeded Murray State and a 2011 loss to 12th-seeded Richmond. In 2016, Vanderbilt was bounced from the NCAA tournament with a 70-50 loss to Wichita State in the play-in game.
Stallings began his coaching career as an assistant at Purdue and Kansas before he earned his first head coaching job at Illinois State in 1993. In six seasons with the Redbirds, Stallings led the team to two NCAA tournaments with back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference championships.
Vanderbilt won the 2012 SEC Tournament, but hasn’t won the regular season conference title since 1993.