NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Arkansas

Vanderbilt has fired coach Jerry Stackhouse after five seasons on the job, the school announced on Thursday. The Commodores' 2023-24 season ended Wednesday night with a 9-23 record after a first-round loss in the SEC Tournament against Arkansas

Stackhouse posted a 70-92 (28-60 SEC) record with three losing seasons in five years after spending time as an NBA assistant coach and G League coach. His buyout is believed to be north of $15 million, according to CBS Sports' Matt Norlander. 

"I want to thank Coach Stackhouse for his competitive spirit and service to this University for the last five years," Vanderbilt athletic director Candice Storey Lee said. "I appreciate his care for and attention to our student-athletes as they grew on and off the court. Commodore Nation will always remember the 'Memorial Magic' moments we experienced under Coach Stackhouse's leadership. Given his pedigree, experience, and love of the game, I look forward to seeing what's next for him. I wish him, Ramirra and his family nothing but the best in the future."

Following the Commodores' 90-85 overtime loss to the Razorbacks on Wednesday, Stackhouse reflected with ambivalence on his tenure, noting he would sit down with university administration to discuss his future.

"But we understand it's a results business," Stackhouse said. "The results haven't been there. Obviously there's some context behind those results. At the end of the day, I understand that. I mean, we have to take accountability for that. We'll sit down and we'll discuss that, we'll figure out the best way going forward."

Stackhouse, a former NBA All-Star and North Carolina star, guided the Commodores to a 22-15 (11-7 SEC) mark in the 2022-23 season but struggled to retain many of the top players from that team. Vanderbilt has also struggled with talent retention in football without the NIL war chests that other SEC institutions can boast.

"When we first started here, we thought that just getting on par with the other schools, having the facilities and things like that, would help. Now that's not enough," Stackhouse said. "Used to be where you could go, you make all the calls, you go show kids as much interest as you can, do all those type things. Now you got to reach out to their agents. You know what I'm saying? That's where it is in order to really get in the door. NIL, that's a big part of it. You have to be a player in that. Quite frankly, we hadn't been a big player in that yet. So those are the things that have to become a part of it."

Candidates for Vanderbilt opening

Among the candidates to watch, according to Norlander, are former Xavier and Louisville coach Chris Mack, Colgate's Matt Langel, Princeton's Mitch Henderson, Indiana State's Josh Schertz and Washington State's Kyle Smith.

Mack is the biggest name of the group, but he's been out of the business for 2 ½ years after being fired midway through Year 4 at Louisville with a 6-8 record. Despite the unceremonious ending, Mack had Louisville at No. 1 in the AP poll at one point during the 2019-20 season before the postseason was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, he posted a 63-36 record with the Cardinals after reaching seven NCAA Tournaments in eight years at Xavier.

Langel and Henderson are logical candidates because of their track records building consistent winners at academic-minded institutions. Schertz has emerged as a name to watch in several vacancies after coaching Indiana State to at-large consideration for the NCAA Tournament this season. He previously spent 13 seasons building a powerhouse in Tennessee at Division II Lincoln Memorial.

Smith could be an attractive candidate for the Commodores because of how he's built a lightly resourced programs such as Columbia, San Francisco and Washington State into winners during a Division I coaching career spanning 14 seasons.